Project Status and Findings:
Information about this project is provided on the web pages below and by the project scientists on the Say No to Schistosoma website. If you have comments or questions about this project, please visit the Say No to Schistosoma forum.
The mission of the Say No to Schistosoma project is to identify potential drug candidates that could possibly be developed into treatments for schistosomiasis. The extensive computing power of World Community Grid will be used to perform computer simulations of the interactions between millions of chemical compounds and certain target proteins. This will help find the most promising compounds that may lead to effective treatments for the disease.
Schistosomiasis is a tropical disease caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted by freshwater snails. The disease kills 200,000 people each year and affects over 207 million people. Schistosomiasis is second only to malaria in its socioeconomic devastation. Researchers at the Infórium University in Belo Horizonte and FIOCRUZ-Minas, Brazil, are using World Community Grid to search for chemical compounds which may lead to new drugs for treating the disease.
A software program called VINA from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, will be used to perform the virtual chemistry experiments. These virtual experiments will search to find which of millions of drug compounds might be able to disable particular proteins essential for the parasite's survival. Screening for the best potential drug compounds is an early step in the process of developing effective treatments for the disease. With enough computing power, this screening can be done much more quickly than using conventional laboratory experiments. Existing computers available to the researchers would require approximately 30 years to perform the screening. However, it is estimated that the power of World Community Grid can reduce the time required to one year or less. Information about the best candidate compounds will be published by the scientists, and this information will be available in the public domain for other scientists to build upon with their research. Further laboratory work using the best candidates identified by this project could lead to the development of better drugs to fight schistosomiasis.