Alert to all members of World Community Grid - your donated computer cycle time may now help find a cure for childhood cancers! There is a group of cancers that are particularly loathsome because they normally only strike young children. Neuroblastoma is one of these cancers, arising in children under the age of two and resulting in a less than 40% survival rate.
While scientists have uncovered the three proteins that enable this cancer to grow, they now need to search the three million drug candidates for a treatment. And your computer can help us complete this search in the next year.
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The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown, but most physicians believe that it is an accidental cell growth that occurs during normal development of the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal glands. It occurs most often during the first two years of a child’s life, and has a high risk for disease relapse with survival rates of less than 40 percent.
The rapid advancement of genetic research at Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute holds great promise for treating neuroblastoma. The new Help Fight Childhood Cancer project will use the idle computational power from your computer to identify which of the three million potential drug candidates can inhibit growth of three particular proteins believed to prevent successful treatment via conventional approaches, such as chemotherapy.
“Our promising research will be further advanced by the free computing power we will use from World Community Grid,” said Dr. Akira Nakagawara, the principal investigator at the Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute. “It would take us about 100 years using our own computing resources to make progress, but with access to one of the world’s largest virtual supercomputers, we estimate to complete this project in two years, and begin laboratory trials.”
Dr. Nakagawara recently earned the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund Prize 2008 for his neuroblastoma research. In his work, he discovered that one protein, TrkB, is expressed at high levels in aggressive neuroblastomas and enhances the tumor cell’s growth. World Community Grid will conduct complex chemistry simulations to determine which drug candidates bond to TrkB, as well as the proteins ALK and SCxx, so that those can be tested further in the laboratory. All results will be made available to the general scientific community to advance the field of cancer biology and drug discovery.
For more information about the Help Fight Childhood Cancer Project and other projects running on World Community Grid, please click here.