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Archive for September 2006

 
 

Folding @ Home

Folding@Home is a goal to understand protien folding, misfolding and related diseases

What is protein folding and how is folding linked to disease? Proteins are biology’s workhorses — its nanomachines. Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or “fold.” The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, in many ways remains a mystery.Moreover, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. “misfold”), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes.

You can help by simply running a piece of software. Folding@Home is a distributed computing project — people from through out the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer makes the project closer to our goals.Folding@Home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems thousands to millions of times more challenging than previously achieved. Learn more about this great cause by visiting the website located on Stanfords website

Nashville Meeting

Went to discuss websites and standards with some friends in Nashville Tennessee, hope I spelled that right, anyways we decided to go in style the whole weekend while in town so me and the girls got together and pitched in for a limo for the whole weekend instead of each of us renting cars and paying for parking, we also reserved a huge room at the Lowes Vanderbilt Hotel and stayed together on the same floor was the most wonderful and pampering weeekend I ve had in years full with wet bar and free massages. We talked about our current projects and decided to move forward with only standards compliant websites and talked about the future of our female web domination of the internet sector we push for and how to expand our current operations. Which leads me to this post and question what is it that is a must when you start a online company ?

Nano Bullets for Ovarian Cancer

Nano Bullets for Ovarian Cancer

A nano-sized drug capsule designed to seek-and-destroy malignant cells shows signs of being able to significantly shrink ovarian cancer tumors. The researchers behind the novel drug, Mansoor Amiji at Northeastern University and MIT’s Robert Langer, say the secret is in the packaging: a pH-sensitive nanoparticle that encapsulates the therapeutics, delivering them directly to cancer sites in mice and suppressing tumor growth. The researchers reported their success in the journal Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology.

“The main challenge in ovarian cancer treatment is lack of selectivity for tumor cells versus normal cells,” says Amiji, a pharmaceutical scientist and the study’s principal investigator. “Many approaches have devastating side effects, attacking a lot of normal cells like hair follicle and gastrointestinal cells.” Ovarian cancer is a tempting target for the technology because it is particularly difficult to treat and often has a high relapse rate, Amiji says, but the nanoparticle system could be applicable to other forms of cancer.

To avoid such side effects and hone drug delivery, Amiji and his colleagues looked for ways to exploit key characteristics of tumor cells. The environment around most tumors is acidic, having lower pH levels than the rest of the body. Levels are even more acidic inside tumors due to lack of blood and lactic acid buildup. They deduced that a pH-sensitive drug package could thus selectively target the tumor cells.

The drug-carrying vessel needs to be small enough to pass through a tumor’s membrane and yet resilient enough to not be broken down by the body’s immune cells before reaching the tumor site. So the researchers engineered a nanoparticle out of pH-sensitive, biodegradable polymers. Much like a suitcase which could only be opened with a specific combination, this vessel could only be “unlocked” in the presence of low pH levels exhibited by tumor cells. Once unlocked, the vessel dissolves, releasing its drug contents specifically to cancer cells.

Other existing cancer therapies employ similar nano vessels for drug delivery. The most common are liposomes: naturally-derived, spherical vesicles that package drugs, carrying them across tumor membranes into cancer cells. However, these drug carriers run the risk of getting taken up by macrophages before getting to the tumor. Other potential drug carriers more resistant to the body’s natural defenses have been shown to have toxic side effects. Amiji and his colleagues hoped their nanoparticle would not only decrease toxicity, but also boost drug efficiency by more effectively evading the body’s immune system.

Live animal models put the theory and design to the test. The team packed their pH-sensitive nanoparticle with paclitaxel — a widely used cancer drug — and injected it into mice with ovarian cancer tumors. Other mice received injections of the same drug package minus pH sensitivity, while yet others received the drug alone (without a nanoparticle shell). Each group received only one dose of their respective treatments. A control group received no treatment at all.

Four weeks after the injections, mice with pH-sensitive treatments had tumors half as big as those treated with paclitaxel alone, and were slightly smaller than tumors treated with nano-packaged paclitaxel that was not pH-sensitive, suggesting a more effective delivery system. These same mice exhibited no measurable side effects: blood cell counts and body weight remained unchanged, and few mice were lethargic during treatment.

Continue reading the whole story by clicking on the Headline this is truely remarkable story.