U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

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U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

Post  Destructo on Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:44 pm

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/19/us-gamers-crack-puzzle-in-aids-research-that-stumped-scientists-for-years/

In just three weeks, online gamers deciphered the structure of a retrovirus protein that has stumped scientists for over a decade, and a study out Sunday says their breakthrough opens doors for a new AIDS drug design.

The protein, called a protease, plays a critical role in how some viruses, including HIV, multiply. Intensive research has been underway to find AIDS drugs that can deactivate proteases, but scientists were hampered by their inability to crack the enzyme's structure.

Looking for a solution, researchers at the University of Washington turned to Foldit, a program created by the university a few years ago that transforms problems of science into competitive computer games, and challenged players to use their three-dimensional problem-solving skills to build accurate models of the protein.

With days, the gamers generated models good enough for the researchers to refine into an accurate portrayal of the enzyme's structure. What's more, the scientists identified parts of the molecule that are likely targets for drugs to block the enzyme.

"These features provide opportunities for the design of antiretroviral drugs, including anti-HIV drugs," the authors wrote.

Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids that fold into complex shapes, but their structures are difficult even for computers to predict.

"We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed," said Firas Khatib, a lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

The researchers were hopeful that their finding would open further possibilities of crowd-sourcing and online game-playing in scientific discovery.

"The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems," Khatib said.

Seth Cooper, a co-creator of Foldit, added, "People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at. Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/19/us-gamers-crack-puzzle-in-aids-research-that-stumped-scientists-for-years/#ixzz1YS97YuPP
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Re: U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

Post  Drag on Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:13 pm

this proves chamikas theory that if we didn't spent thousands of games in halo 3 we could have cured cancer by now

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Re: U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

Post  Open Circle on Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:34 am

Wooooo! As a microbiology major, this makes my wee wee tingle!

All there's left to do is to find the proper protein or molecule to bind to various active sites in the protease and they could potentially create a drug that could slow down or even the stop the multiplication of HIV, rising the life expectancy of those infected with AIDS!. The only problem with this is that it's not a proper cure, the virus will still be in the body and once the person stops taking the drug for whatever reason (might be too expensive or too scarce), the HIV will start multiplying again.

Now, if this was properly used with a cocktail of other proper anti-viral drugs, then there might be a chance for a potential cure, but sadly those drugs are either still in the experimental stage or still in development Sad
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Re: U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

Post  skitty on Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:37 am


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Re: U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

Post  Open Circle on Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:35 am

ROFL!

The author of that article is Gary Null, the same person that "reported that he had been poisoned and nearly killed by ingesting one of his own dietary supplements".

Seriously Sludge? No offense to you or anything, but do you really believe this guy's claim that "HIV is harmless and does not cause AIDS"?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Null
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Re: U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years?

Post  skitty on Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:17 pm

Nope, it's all food for thought though, you've got to admit, some things do add up.
What I do believe though is Big Pharma makes more money prolonging life than curing HIV/AIDS, Cancer ect.

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