A new computer cluster funded by the University of Sheffield and located within the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, will help scientists to improve their understanding of how human cells and organs work. This will ultimately lead to more effective ways of treating cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as other diseases. It will also eventually allow doctors to tailor treatment in a way specific to that patient rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
Two of the current uses for the computer are the development of new technologies to increase the effectiveness of drug delivery and improving the accuracy of radiotherapy treatment. On a more fundamental level the computer is being used to establish how cells interact and ‘self-assemble’ to become a particular tissue or organ. This second study will have an impact on our understanding of a variety of organ functions as well as improving our understanding of the behaviour of cancers, cell turnover and wound repair.
Professor Rod Smallwood, who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the Cluster and is running the project on human cell assembly, explains why the new system is important. “The power of the computer cluster will allow us to use real patient data to produce advanced computational models that can test a variety of hypotheses, without the need to perform difficult and expensive experiments in the laboratory. Predictive models can be developed at all levels from gene expression to organ function”
Lorna Branton | alfa
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