A team led by Jerome Baudry of the University of Tennessee-ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics adapted a widely used existing software to allow supercomputers such as ORNL’s Jaguar to sift through immense molecular databases and pinpoint chemical compounds as potential drug candidates.
The research was published in the Journal of Computational Chemistry as “Task-parallel MPI implementation of Autodock4 for docking of very large databases of compounds using High Performance Super-Computers.”
“Our research is the missing link between supercomputers and the huge data available in molecular databases like the Human Genome Project,” Baudry said. “We have an avalanche of data available to us, and now we need to translate that data into knowledge.”
Such translation is critical for the first stages of drug development, in which researchers look for appropriate chemicals that interact with a target in the body, typically a protein. If the chemical is suitable, it attaches onto the protein and produces a desirable effect in the cell.
But with thousands of known proteins and millions of chemicals as potential drugs, the number of possible combinations is astronomical.
“It is very expensive and time-consuming to measure these interactions experimentally,” Baudry said. “But with supercomputers, we can process millions of molecules a day.”
The quick and efficient processing of molecules offers scientists an opportunity to take risks on previously unexamined drug candidates, which could lead to diverse and innovative classes of drugs.
“Before, we threw away a lot of information because molecules did not have a preferred profile,” Baudry said. “Now, every molecule can be examined without worrying about wasting resources.”
The researchers have already started work to launch the research into reality through a new collaboration supported by the National Institutes of Health. The project team plans to put the computational development to work on ORNL supercomputers to look for chemicals that could treat prostate cancer. The research is funded by a NIH Clinical Translational Science Award, which was awarded to Georgetown and Howard Universities and includes ORNL, Med/Star Health and the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center as key partners.
“Our development work is the computational equivalent of building the Saturn V rocket,” Baudry said. “Now we want to fly it to the moon.”
Funding for the initial development work was provided by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. The University of Tennessee and the Joint UT/ORNL Genome Sciences and Technology graduate program also supported the work. The research team included Barbara Collignon, Roland Schulz and Jeremy Smith of the UT-ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics. The three researchers as well as Baudry are also affiliated with the University of Tennessee’s Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology.
ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Morgan McCorkle | Newswise Science News
Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy