New Distributed Computing Project On Scene For Cancer Page: 1
New Distributed Computing Project On Scene For Cancer
The concept of distributed computing projects began nine years ago with the extraterrestrial searching SETI@Home project started in 1999 by UC Berkeley. A year later, scientists recognized the potential for advancements in the medical field when Stanford began the Folding@Home project, designed to analyze the issues of protein folding and the diseases (such as Alzheimer's) misfolding could cause.
With the success and popularity of the F@H project quite evident, it was inevitable that a project would start to aid in the research of one of the world's most feared diseases: cancer. Cels@Home, started by Assistant Professor Muhammad Zaman of the University of Texas at Austin, is designed to delve into the mysteries of cell adhesion.
"We have launched a global effort to recreate the in vivo (live) environment of cancer cells in a computer model. This allows us to perform virtual experiments and study processes that are too costly or technically very difficult to study," says Zaman, who also directs the Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics. "By recreating this whole 'system of processes inside a cancer cell' we will be in a position to fully comprehend the problem and hopefully identify targets that will one day translate into anti-cancer drugs."
"Instead of studying one molecule or one gene, Cels@Home is studying a host of problems in cancer," he explained. "Cancer, as we know, is not a disease of a single gene or a single cell, but in fact it is a problem that involves thousands of genes, signals and molecular components. Understanding cancer requires understanding the system in its proper context, not just a tiny bit of the problem."
In the four months the project has been active, the number of users is pushing towards the 1000 mark and the number of computer hosts is coming close to reaching 3000.
Cels@Home is powered by the BOINC project software platform, the same software that SETI@Home and numerous other grid computing projects run on.
Want to donate your idle CPU cycles to cancer research? Should OC3D create their own team?