US Software house Mithral Communications and Design and Stanford University have released the Stanford Alzheimer and amyloidogenic disease research program – new software that has been designed to help researchers gain a better understanding of diseases that may be caused by misfolding proteins, also known as prions.
These diseases include Alzheimer’s, type II diabetes, Mad Cow, cystic fibrosis and even some forms of cancer. Once scientists understand protein folding, they can then begin to develop methods to prevent and correct protein misfolding and the related diseases.
The new software allows protein folding to be simulated on hundreds of computers, thereby allowing researchers to obtain data that would be nearly impossible to gain in a laboratory setting.
Any computer user can participate in the research simply by downloading a small piece of software from the Stanford university site by clicking <a href=’http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html’>here</a>.
Once installed, the software will run whenever the computer is not in use. When the user connects to the Internet, the client program will send the finished results back to the master servers at Stanford University and request more work to do.
‘This computing power makes it possible to do simulations that were only dreamed of before,’ said Professor Vijay Pande of Stanford University’s Pande Group and project director. ‘Peer-to-Peer computing is likely the next computational revolution in biomedical research.’
Stanford University researchers from the Pande Group created the software that performs the scientific calculations, based on TINKER by Professor Jay Ponder at Washington University, and will evaluate the program results. The program incorporates a comprehensive system of security and privacy technologies to protect user privacy. This program is based on the Folding@home program currently run by the Pande Group.