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Molecules made by IUPUI students may have potential to cure diseases
Date:1/18/2011

INDIANAPOLIS Not many college students can say their efforts in the laboratory may lead to therapies for diseases that devastate millions of people worldwide, but chemistry students in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis can. As they learn the science of chemistry they are actually synthesizing molecules that may someday be tested in human clinical trials as potential drug treatments or cures for such devastating diseases as malaria and tuberculosis.

Led by School of Science Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology faculty members William Scott, Ph.D., and Martin O'Donnell, Ph.D., the students are an essential resource in a new low-cost strategy to accelerate the discovery of drugs to treat neglected diseases. Called Distributed Drug Discovery (D3), the goal of this effort is to identify, synthesize and ultimately test molecules that have not been previously considered for use as drugs to treat these deadly diseases. D3 does this through a distributed problem solving process that breaks large problems into small pieces that are "distributed" to multiple, small, low-cost sites to obtain a solution.

Because of the need to make and test large numbers of molecules, D3 uses a distributed problem approach at each of the three key stages of drug discovery. The initial step identifies candidate drug molecules to be made. To do this the IUPUI researchers are soliciting the advice of computational experts in neglected diseases. Some of these experts will utilize the computational power of multiple personal computers around the world to analyze the large numbers of molecules that students could make to identify the smaller number of drug-candidate molecules they should actually focus on making. Scott and O'Donnell believe this is the most direct path to the selection, synthesis and eventual development of innovative and inexpensive drugs to treat these neglected but very common diseases.

The IUPU
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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