High Schooler Uses Super Computer to Potentially Cure Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary disease that causes excessive buildup of thick mucus in the lungs and digestive tract. Marshall Zhang is an 11th grader from Toronto that may have just cured it.

For his entry to the 2011 Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge, Zhang leveraged a Canadian supercomputing network to identify an interaction between two drugs that affect the same portion of mutant gene that accounts for a majority of Cystic Fibrosis cases. When I was in 11th grade, I was more concerned with the most efficient means of liberating Scotch from my old man's liquor cabinet.

The initial interaction tests and identification were all accomplished via simulation using the collaborative SCINET supercomputing system at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The interaction was then confirmed using live cell cultures. This interaction was so effective, in fact, that "they actually allowed the cells that were treated with both compounds to function as if they were the cells of healthy individuals," according to Zhang. For more on how he did it check this out.


[via The Register]

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