Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computers worldwide speed search for anti-smallpox drugs

05.02.2003


A major computer project has been launched today to analyse millions of different chemicals in the search for drugs to combat the bioterrorist threat of smallpox.



The smallpox research project will use the ‘screensaver downtime’ donated by up to two million computer users worldwide to screen 35 million compounds and identify those most likely to be suitable for drug development.

Currently no drugs are available to combat the smallpox virus after infection, and the only prevention is vaccination, with a vaccine known to have harmful side effects.


The Smallpox Research Grid Project involves scientists from the Universities of Oxford and Essex, the University of Western Ontario, biotechnology company Evotec OAI, and technology companies IBM, United Devices and Accelrys.

Professor Chris Reynolds from the Department of Biological Sciences at Essex explained: ‘New technology has given us a great opportunity to reduce the cost, and speed up the process, of developing new drugs. It is like trying to place a jigsaw piece when all the jigsaws in the world have been mixed up. The donated computer capacity allows pieces to be screened for those the right shape to block a key enzyme in the smallpox virus.’

This type of research has already been used successfully to accelerate the search for drugs to fight cancer. A human enzyme similar to one in the smallpox virus becomes unregulated when cancer develops. This means any compound that hits against the smallpox enzyme but not the human version may give rise to drugs which could combat a smallpox attack.

The project amounts to an initial screening step, narrowing down a list of potential drugs for smallpox from millions to just thousands, a more realistic number to test further in laboratories.

A new phase of the grid computing project was launched recently to refine the search for anti-cancer drugs. Volunteers who donate the spare capacity of their PCs are informed what project is running on their machine. To volunteer your PC, log on to www.grid.org and follow the instructions.

Kate Cleveland | alfa
Further information:
http://www.essex.ac.uk/news/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>