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IUPUI chemists develop Distributed Drug Discovery: Finding drugs for neglected diseases
Date:6/15/2009

INDIANAPOLIS Researchers from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) have developed Distributed Drug Discovery (D3), a new low-cost strategy to accelerate the discovery of drugs to treat neglected diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy, leshmaniasis, dengue fever, and Chagas disease.

Even in times of economic prosperity, the pharmaceutical industry has often been reluctant to get involved in developing treatments for diseases that occur primarily in low income countries. The low cost D3 approach, involving distributed global educational resources at the early stage of discovery, is even more attractive in this time of global economic downturn.

A distributed problem solving process breaks large problems into small pieces which are "distributed" to multiple, small, low-cost sites to obtain a solution. For decades astronomers have enlisted the help of the public, asking individuals around the world to leave their home computers on overnight. While normally idle, each one of these computers looks for patterns in a small subset of the incredibly large amount of space noise signals received by arrays of radio telescopes scanning the skies.

Two studies, published this year in the Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry, detail the first two steps in D3, developed by William Scott, Ph.D., research professor, and Martin J. O'Donnell, Ph.D., IUPUI Chancellor's Professor, both of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at IUPUI.

D3 uses a distributed problem approach at all three key stages of drug discovery. Step one is identifying candidate drug molecules. To do this, IUPUI researchers are soliciting the global advice of computational experts in neglected disease areas and utilizing the computational power of multiple personal computers around the world to scan the almost infinite number of molecules which the D3 synthesis process could make to identify the smaller number of drug candidate molecules the
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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