Internet computing finds more cancer growth inhibitors

Internet computing finds more cancer growth inhibitors

Wednesday 12 November 2003
Find-a-Drug, Evesham, UK

Find-a-Drug is pleased to announce that its Cancer Internet project has found more molecules which inhibit the growth of cancer cells. By using the spare computer time of thousands of PCs connected to the Internet to form a large supercomputer, Find-a-Drug has been able to evaluate the potential of more than 0.5 billion molecules and produce a set of molecules that are predicted to inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cell. Scientists at the US National Cancer Institute have tested the abilities of a small number of molecules from the set as part of their Developmental Therapeutics Program.

"We now have growth inhibitors for 5 anti-cancer protein targets" commented Keith Davies, Scientific Director of Find-a-Drug. "In our cancer project so far, 42 of the 200 molecules tested showed the desired anti-cancer properties".

The new potential drug molecules include inhibitors of BRAF a target favoured by Professor Paul Workman, Director of Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research. The other targets are PI3K, inhibition of which leads to death of cancer cells, and RAF which is also a novel cancer target.

In the coming months, Find-a-Drug hopes to increase the number of molecules evaluated by computer and have more molecules tested in the laboratory. Alternative protein targets will also be evaluated to increase the number of molecules which are predicted to have anti-cancer properties. It is hoped that choosing from a larger number of molecules will help to avoid drug failures during clinical trials.

The project has so far used over 1,000 years of computer time, and has involved more than 13,000 PCs from nearly 60 countries. Each PC is running a copy of the THINK software in the background which does not affect normal use of the PC. All data transferred between the PCs and the Find-a-Drug Internet servers are encrypted. This is a necessary and valuable precaution to prevent the introduction of a harmful agent such as a virus on to the computers. PC owners may participate in the project by downloading the THINK software and molecules from www.find-a-drug.org. Once installed, the software does not require any interaction by the owner.

To participate visit www.find-a-drug.org.

For further information please contact:

Tel: Keith Davies +44 1386 870153 or 07879 495105
E-mail: Keith.Davies@find-a-drug.com

About Find-a-Drug

Find-a-Drug was set up in 2002 by Treweren Consultants (Evesham, UK) as a non-profit organisation using Internet-based computing for drug discovery. In addition to Cancer, Find-a-Drug is examining some HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Plague and SARS protein targets. The cancer project continues the work started in collaboration with United Devices (Austin, Texas) and Professors Graham Richards and David Kerr of Oxford University in 2001.