Forscher nutzen IBM Supercomputer beim Kampf gegen das HIV Virus

04 Apr 2008 [09:44h]     Bookmark and Share

Forscher nutzen IBM Supercomputer beim Kampf gegen das HIV Virus

Forscher nutzen IBM Supercomputer beim Kampf gegen das HIV Virus

Eine der größten Herausforderungen in der medizinischen Forschung war und ist es, einen Impfstoff gegen das HIV 1-Virus zu finden. Forscher der Universität Edinburgh und dem IBM Thomas J. Watson Forschungszentrum in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. gehen dieses Ziel jetzt gemeinsam an:

In einem auf fünf Jahre angelegten Forschungsprojekt nutzen die schottischen Experten dabei die herausragenden Simulationsfähigkeiten des weltweit schnellsten Supercomputers IBM Blue Gene, um simultan die Auswirkungen mehrerer Impfstoffe gegen das Virus zu beobachten, um so schneller Forschungsergebnisse vorzulegen.

Nähere Details entnehmen Sie bitte der angefügten englischsprachigen Ankündigung.

IBM and University of Edinburgh Use World’s Most Advanced Supercomputer to Tackle HIV virus before it infects human cells

Edinburgh, Scotland and Armonk, New York – April 3, 2008 … Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center today announced a five-year joint research project to use supercomputing simulations combined with lab experiments to speed the design of drugs aimed at inhibiting infection by the HIV virus.

The project includes powerful computing technology, including IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputer, combined with new experimental characterization aimed at targeting the infection process itself by designing inhibitors for the part of the virus responsible for allowing the viruses genetic material to enter the human cell.

The new aspect of the collaboration is its attempt to design simultaneously multiple inhibitors and to thereby prevent the cagey virus from mutating and thereby invalidating the drug therapy as it does with single inhibitors.

“Our early results are promising, showing that we can use computers to simulate which molecules can stop the HIV virus from infecting humans, which drug makers could then use to more rapidly develop those drugs,” said Jason Crain, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Divisional Head of Science at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK. “This is a new approach to drug design – we are using sophisticated algorithms coupled with experimental techniques to design improved molecular therapies, and we can capitalize on enormous computing power to do this efficiently and rationally.”

The project is focused on how the human HIV-1 virus attaches to cells in the body and injects its genetic material. Researchers are examining a fragment of the surface protein of the virus, known as a peptide, which is crucial in stimulating the body’s immune response to viral attack. Understanding the structure and behavior of the peptide will allow for multiple drugs to be designed simultaneously capable of targeting the infection process.

„One of the great challenges in the medical community is to find a vaccine for the HIV virus,“ said IBM Researcher Glenn Martyna. „By combining the experimental research of University of Edinburgh and the simulation capabilities of the world’s most powerful supercomputer, IBM’s Blue Gene, we just might get much closer to that goal.“

The University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of advances in high performance computing and provides the widest range of supercomputer facilities of any university in Europe. In 2004, the University installed the first IBM Blue Gene supercomputer in Europe in an effort to help researchers throughout Britain tackle some of the most challenging puzzles in science.

In partnership with IBM this novel collaboration uses new atomistic simulation methods and software run on IBM massively parallel BlueGene/L supercomputer, in conjunction with high accuracy experimental techniques to probe the properties of amino acids and small peptides, the building blocks of proteins, which are key to novel antiviral therapy based on the simultaneous development of multiple targets.

In the past several years, IBM next generation massively parallel supercomputers have dominated the top 500 list. The use of these machines and development of yet faster, larger models hinges on continuously development of methods and algorithms that work well on these challenging architectures.

In another initiative dedicated to the global fight against HIV, IBM’s Haifa Research Laboratories and a group of European partners last year developed an integrated system for anti-HIV treatment called EUResist. Enabled by the integration of comprehensive databases, advanced data analytics and prediction tools, the system can forecast how genetic HIV variants will respond to specific antiretroviral treatments. It can therefore help doctors to choose the most effective drugs and drug combinations for their HIV patients.