In-silico Screening for Anthrax Toxin Inhibitors

Intel, Microsoft, United Devices, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) ask computer users around the world to join with them in the Anthrax Research Project, an international effort designed to help scientists develop a treatment for the Anthrax toxin.


News. 8th March 2002 The results of the anthrax project run from the Oxford University's Department of Chemistry will today be handed to the US Department of Defence and the UK government. Professor Graham Richards will hand over a compact disc containing data of some 300,000 molecules which look like promising candidates to form the basis for a cure for anthrax. The hand-over event will take place at the UK Embassy in Washington DC.


News. 4th March 2002 The results from the UD.com members indicate 376, 064 molecules as hits from the 3.5 billion screened.


News. 19th Feb 2002 The University of Oxford & United Devices is pleased to announce that as of 19th February 2002, the screening phase of the Anthrax Research Project has been completed, four weeks after the project was started.


News: 1st Feb 2002 Oxford Scientists: Meir Glick, Guy H. Grant and W. Graham Richards "Pinpointing anthrax-toxin inhibitors" have published a paper in Nature Biotech describing the science behind this research project. c.f. biotech.nature.com


By running the screensaver, individuals had been donating their computer’s spare resources to build a virtual supercomputer capable of analyzing many billions of molecules in a fraction of the time it would take in a laboratory.

This accelerated analysis will help scientists identify drug candidates that might be a treatment for the Anthrax toxin, rendering it useless as a weapon.

 

Figure. A proposed small molecule anthrax toxin inhibitor. The gold coloured molecule binds to the anthrax toxin, blocking its further chemistry and preventing the toxin entering cells.

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