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 We can fight back! Protein folding research 
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
Posts: 215
Location: Kalispell, MT
Post We can fight back! Protein folding research
We can fight back.

Stanford U Med School heads a research group studying the misfolding of proteins, implicated in LBD, PDD and similar dementias (and some cancers), using hundreds of thousands of personal computers (about 400,000 at present). The program works in the background and doesn't interfere with regular use of the computer.

I have done this for years--who knew it would be personal? (My husband has early LBD.) Check it out.

From their home page:

Our goal: to understand protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases

You can help scientists studying these diseases by simply running a piece of software.

Folding@home is a distributed computing project -- people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer takes the project closer to our goals. Folding@home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems millions of times more challenging than previously achieved.

Protein folding is linked to disease, such as Alzheimer's, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers
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.

What is protein folding?
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.

http://folding.stanford.edu/


Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:12 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Location: Vermont
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Maybe I'm just being dense, but I have not been able to figure out how, if I let some software run on my computer, it has anything to do with research on misfolded proteins at Stanford or anywhere else. The link just points you to a web site that says the same thing as the posting.


Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:44 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
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Location: Kalispell, MT
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Go back to the web site and look at the FAQ's, and browse around.

As best as I can explain it, the Stanford computer sends to your computer a work unit that has a certain number of simulated protein folding computations. When your unit is completed, it is sent back and your computer receives another work unit. You don't have to do anything, it's automatic and in the background.

For example, my computer now is working on a work unit of 250 computations and has completed 60 of them.

The individual pcs are not linked to each other, only to the Stanford one. With nearly 400,000 pcs worldwide participating, you can see the power of this research tool. You may have seen that this started with SETI, and was used for the human genome project as well.

I have done this for years--gives me the satisfaction of contributing.


Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:51 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Location: Vermont
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I suppose that if this is something you work with it is a lot more understandable than it is to someone who is totally unfamiliar with it. I had already read the FAQs prior to my last posting.
Thanks, Lynn


Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:12 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
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Location: Kalispell, MT
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I'm not so good with explanations. Maybe somebody else will see this and make sense of it for you and others.


Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:04 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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I think the key was knowing that it was a distributed computing project. There have been lots of such projects over the last few years. It's fascinating how they work!


Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:55 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
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Location: Kalispell, MT
Post No-brainer?
Hmmm, when I posted this research project at Stanford, I thought it was a no-brainer. Has anyone signed up? Lynn's is the only post asking for more info. Believe me, I have no particular knowledge either in chemistry/biology or computer stuff. That makes me believe I just haven't explained it adequately.

Gail


Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Location: Vermont
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There are so many computer viruses and other things people don't want on their computers that my guess is people are afraid of that happening if they sign on. Maybe I'm speaking for myself only, but I'd bet there are a few people out there who don't want anything they don't know about running on their computers. Lynn


Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:00 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
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Location: Kalispell, MT
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You may be right, Lynn. I would just encourage people to check it out. They shoulod start at the main Stanford Univ. website to validate that this is legitimate and safe. I'm thinking that we expose our computers to plenty of viruses in the things we do on the Internet, and that the folding@home project would be as secure as anything out there. I've certainly had no problems over the years I have participated.

Gail


Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:01 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:13 am
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Post Re: We can fight back! Protein folding research
Helping understand protein folding reasearch might or might not help LBD AD PD research....

But regardless it will advance our understanding of the mechanics of biochemistry.
Some diesease and problems will be solved by a better understanding of this (if not LBD, AD, PD, some other conditions will get treatments / approaches out of this- for instance I'd think cystic fibrosis might be helped by this).

So, I'd say its definitely worthwhile even if it doesn't help your intended target


Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:37 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: We can fight back! Protein folding research
There's a related article in this Wednesday's New York Times on a protein-folding online video game called Foldit, developed by the University of Washington:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/scien ... otein.html


Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:05 pm
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