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Research: Help Fight Childhood Cancer: Project Overview
 
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Help Fight Childhood Cancer

Project Status and Findings:  
In February 2014, the research team behind the Help Fight Childhood Cancer project published a groundbreaking paper on their discovery of seven promising drug candidates to treat neuroblastoma, one of the most common and dangerous forms of childhood cancer. Learn more.

Additional information on Help Fight Childhood Cancer can be found on:Discuss this project with the research team and other members, at the project forum.

Mission
The mission of the Help Fight Childhood Cancer project is to find drugs that can disable three particular proteins associated with neuroblastoma, one of the most frequently occurring solid tumors in children. Identifying these drugs could potentially make the disease much more curable when combined with chemotherapy treatment.

Significance
Neuroblastoma is one of the most common tumors occuring in early childhood and is the most common cause of death in children with solid cancer tumors. If this project is successful, it could dramatically increase the cure rate for neuroblastoma, providing the breakthrough for this disease that has eluded scientists thus far.

Approach
Proteins (molecules which are a bound collection of atoms) are the building blocks of all life processes. They also play an important role in the progress of diseases such as cancer.

Scientists have identified three particular proteins involved with neuroblastoma, which if disabled, could make the disease much more curable by conventional methods such as chemotherapy. This project is performing virtual chemistry experiments between these proteins and each of the three million drug candidates that scientists believe could potentially block the proteins involved. A computer program called AutoDock will test if the shape of the protein and shape of each drug candidate fit together and bond in a suitable way to disable the protein.

This work consists of 9 million virtual chemistry experiments, each of which would take hours to perform on a single computer, totaling over 8,000 years of computer time. World Community Grid is performing these computations in parallel and is thus speeding up the effort dramatically. The project is expected to be completed in two years or less.


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