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Home > iSGTW 14 November 2007 > iSGTW Announcement - Canadian researchers Help Conquer Cancer


Announcement - Canadian researchers Help Conquer Cancer


The mission of Help Conquer Cancer is to improve the results of protein X-ray crystallography, which helps researchers annotate unknown parts of the human proteome and improves their understanding of cancer initiation, progression and treatment. The project would take conventional computer systems 162 years to complete. Using World Community Grid, Jurisica anticipates it could be finished in one to two years.
Image courtesy of World Community Grid

Canadian researchers expect to accelerate the war on cancer by tapping into the IBM World Community Grid, a network of PCs and laptops with power equivalent to one of the globe’s top five fastest supercomputers.   

This newest of five research projects currently running on World Community Grid is called Help Conquer Cancer and was launched 6 November 2007.

The research team, led by Igor Jurisica at the Ontario Cancer Institute, and scientists at Princess Margaret Hospital and University Health Network, are the first from Canada to use the World Community Grid, a global network of hundreds of thousands of people who volunteer their idle computer time to tackle some of the world’s most complex problems.
 
The team will use World Community Grid to analyze the results of experiments on proteins using data collected by scientists at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo, New York, U.S.

162 to 2?

This analysis would take conventional computer systems 162 years to complete. However, using World Community Grid, Jurisica anticipates the analysis could be finished in one to two years, and will provide researchers with a better way to study how proteins function, insight that could lead to the development of more effective cancer-fighting drugs.
 
“We know that most cancers are caused by defective proteins in our bodies, but we need to better understand the specific function of those proteins and how they interact in the body,” said Jurisica. “We also have to find proteins that will enable us to diagnose cancer earlier, before symptoms appear, to have the best chance of treating the disease—or potentially stopping it completely.”
 
The research team now has more than 86 million images of 9,400 unique proteins that could be linked to cancer, captured in the course of more than 14.5 million experiments by colleagues at Hauptman-Woodward.
 
This comprises the most comprehensive database on the chemistry of a large number of proteins, a resource that will help researchers around the world unlock the mystery of how many cancers grow.  
 
Approximately 150,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 70,000 will die of the disease in 2007 alone.    

More on IBM World Community Grid

World Community Grid, sponsored by the IBM Corporation, uses grid technology to establish a permanent, flexible infrastructure that provides researchers around the world with a readily available pool of free computational power that can be used to solve problems plaguing humanity.
 
Individuals can donate their idle computer power for this project by installing a free, secure, small software program on their computers. The computer requests data from World Community Grid’s server when it is idle, for example when a user is at lunch, and performs the cancer-related protein computations. A screensaver tells individuals when their computers are being used.
 
World Community Grid is the largest public humanitarian grid, with more than 340,000 members and links to more than 810,000 computers. However, it’s estimated that there are one billion computers worldwide, underscoring the potential for the grid and its computational power to significantly expand.

 

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