Monday, May 22, 2006

Fighting cancer: a good idea


The United Devices Cancer Research Project is a scheme run primarily by the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, United Devices, Inc, and various other organisations and individuals, which aims to use idle PCs around the world to assist in finding new cancer drugs, by modelling the interaction of potential anti-carcinogenic compounds with proteins. The idea is that you download a simple, non-intrusive screensaver programme, which uses your PC to process data, which is then returned to the server. There is a useful Oxford FAQ page with more information.

Grid.org are also running the Human Proteome Folding Project, which builds upon the work carried out by the Human Genome Project, and is aiming to discover the functions and structures of all of the proteins encoded in the Human Genome. The project works along the same lines as the Cancer Research Project by getting people to install a programme called Rosetta onto their PCs.

These are both fascinating projects, with millions of people having signed up to help.

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