Navigation Links
Idle computers offer hope to solve cancer's mysteries through grid computing project

AUSTIN, Texas A biomedical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin is using a concept called "grid computing" to allow the average person to donate idle computer time in a global effort to fight cancer.

Muhammad Zaman, assistant professor in biomedical engineering, recently introduced Cellular Environment in Living Systems @Home or CELS@Home for short ( The program already has more than 1,000 computer users worldwide contributing to the project. And the numbers keep growing.

The idea is based on what is called grid computing. Instead of using local computing resources, which are almost always limited, grid computing allows Internet users worldwide to contribute their idle computer time, creating a "virtual" supercomputer to solve a difficult problem. In this case, the grid computing program is calculating cellular interactions in different environments to help understand the principles of cell migration and cancer cell metastasis, or the spread of cancer from the original tumor to other parts of the body.

"We have launched a global effort to recreate the in vivo (live) environment of cancer cells in a computer model. This allows us to perform virtual experiments and study processes that are too costly or technically very difficult to study," says Zaman, who also directs the Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics. "By recreating this whole 'system of processes inside a cancer cell' we will be in a position to fully comprehend the problem and hopefully identify targets that will one day translate into anti-cancer drugs."

He says only a background program (or screensaver) needs to be downloadedat no cost to the userto contribute to the CELS@Home effort. A computational program then runs whenever the screensaver is activated, requiring no effort on the part of the user to run the program or report the computations.

"It's a completely passive approach," Zaman says. "There are no viruses or no spam that can compromise the performance of their machines."

Among the approximate 1,000 users, there have been no instances of computer problems, he says. Users are from countries such as: Argentina, Australia, China, Denmark, France, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Venezuela.

Zaman emphasizes the project also will stress dialogue and communication with the worldwide users, which he hopes will number 100,000 people someday.

"We'll soon have forums where contributors from all over the world will be able to provide feedback to us about what are some of the most challenging problems in cancer that they would like to study," he says. "Thus, we are making a global effort to solve a global problem."

Already, the program has yielded enough information in just two months for two journal articles.

"What took months can be done now in days or weeks," Zaman says. "It's amazing."

He says CELS@Home goes beyond traditional grid computing to incorporate a multi-scale systems biology approach.

"Instead of studying one molecule or one gene, it is studying a host of problems in cancer," Zaman says. "Cancer, as we know, is not a disease of a single gene or a single cell, but in fact it is a problem that involves thousands of genes, signals and molecular components. Understanding cancer requires understanding the system in its proper context, not just a tiny bit of the problem."

He says computations may take one day, one week or a month to complete, depending on the user's amount of idle time and computer speed. Any amount of idle time is beneficial, Zaman says. Once a computation is completed, the user will receive another computation, and so on. The user can opt out of the program at any time.


Contact: Muhammad Zaman
University of Texas at Austin

Related medicine news :

1. Computers help chemists fight emerging infections
2. U.S. Army Selects Cogon Systems to Develop Advanced Clinical Decision Support Tools for Hand Held Computers
3. Hand-held computers prod older adults to exercise more, Stanford study shows
4. Two Laptop Computers Missing From Lifebloods Main Office
5. General Dynamics Itronix Donates Computers to Humanitarian Expedition Fighting Malaria in Africa
6. Computers as safe as medical experts in prescribing blood thinning drugs
7. New prion protein discovered by Canadian scientists may offer insight into mad cow disease
8. Health care incentive model offers collaborative approach
9. Eye-staining technique offers early detection for dry eye syndrome
10. Governor Rendell Offers adultBasic Coverage to 35,000 Uninsured Pennsylvanians
11. Mylan Commences Tender Offers and Consent Solicitations for Its 5.750% Senior Notes Due 2010 and 6.375% Senior Notes Due 2015 in Connection With Its Proposed Acquisition of Mercks Generic Pharmaceutical Business
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... Carolina (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... of a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The ... centuries. , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can ... Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey ... cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong ... Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. ... to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 on ... article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo ... such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants ... grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and ... enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical trial ... of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the trial ... of 2016, and to report top line data ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BOGOTA, Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a ... second affiliate in Latin America . ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Experian Health, the healthcare ... the patient payment and care experience, today ... products and services that will enhance the ... offerings. These award-winning solutions will enable healthcare ... compliant in an ever-changing environment and redefine ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: