Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Epstein-Barr: a virtual look at a vexing virus

24.10.2007
Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine in collaboration with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have created a computer program called Pathogen Simulation (PathSim) to study the progression of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in humans.

David Thorley-Lawson, PhD, professor of pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine, is combining PathSim, laboratory methods, and clinical studies to provide a new and powerful approach to understanding EBV and ultimately designing anti-viral therapies.

“PathSim is an agent-based computer program. The agents are the virus itself, and the T and B cells of the patient’s immune system,” explains Thorley-Lawson. Using PathSim, Thorley-Lawson can manipulate these agents to simulate EBV infection and persistence in humans. “EBV can infect one person and remain latent – not cause any symptoms. It can infect another person and cause infectious mononucleosis, or, in rare cases, cancer, like Hodgkin’s, Burkitt’s, and immunoblastic lymphomas,” says Thorley-Lawson.

“Scientists can use PathSim like a video game and change variables, such as number of virus particles or characteristics of the patient’s immune cells, to follow the course of disease and observe what drives the virus to either latency or illness.

... more about:
»Agent »EBV »PathSim »Thorley-Lawson »immune »immune cell

We validated PathSim by comparing it to EBV infection in patients,” says Thorley-Lawson. “For example, PathSim projected that the peak in the number of infected immune cells, called B cells, would occur 33 through 38 days post-infection, which is consistent with the peak of 35 through 50 days actually seen in infected patients. This consistency is important because it validates the predictive power of PathSim; the power to reveal what EBV is doing in a patient’s body,” says Thorley-Lawson.

“It takes one full week to run one simulation,” says Thorley-Lawson. “Then we compile the data and look for critical switch points of disease.” A switch point is a small change in the behavior of an agent that can influence the progression of disease. Such a change may determine whether the virus persists in the body in a latent state, or causes illness and even death by replicating out of control. “Once these critical switch points are understood, biologists may be able to develop drugs that target specific points in the interaction between the virus and immune system at specific times,” explains Thorley-Lawson. “The more targeted the drug, the more safe and effective the resulting therapy. We hope that this marriage of computers and biology will eventually lead to better patient treatment against EBV.”

Siobhan Gallagher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

Further reports about: Agent EBV PathSim Thorley-Lawson immune immune cell

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>