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Primeur weekly 2017-05-08

Focus

Construction started for European Institute for Neuromorphic Computing building in Heidelberg ...

Quantum computing

IBM and Raytheon BBN scientists demonstrate quantum computer performance advantage over classical computers ...

Delft, Aachen and Jülich join forces to build scalable quantum technologies ...

More than 100 million euro for Dutch top science - 18,8 million for quantum computing ...

Five ways quantum computing will change the way we think about computing ...

Focus on Europe

Frauke Gräter is the winner of the 2nd PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC ...

Survey on requirement elicitation for a common e-infrastructure service catalogue now available ...

Supercharging the computers that might save the world ...

HPC-Europa3, new European H2020 project, started on 1st May ...

e-IRG Open Workshop to discuss long-term sustainability of e-Infrastructures ...

Middleware

Altair announces an impressive speaker line-up for its 2017 PBS Works User Group ...

Hardware

University of Waterloo launches new national supercomputer to fuel Big Data research and machine learning ...

Cray reports first quarter 2017 financial results ...

Cray awarded contract to install Cray CS400 cluster supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory ...

Solarflare and LDA Technologies harness the power of Xilinx FPGAs to achieve breakthrough performance in electronic trading ...

Net Futures 2017 Conference to launch programme ...

SDSC to double Comet supercomputer's graphic processor count ...

Applications

Scientific impacts from just three years of Blue Waters ...

NASA launches challenge to accelerate design software operations on supercomputer ...

Scientists discover how world's biggest volcanoes formed ...

Case Western Reserve University research reveals important cancer clues ...

Tsinghua University won ASC17 championship big time ...

Deep learning helps scientists keep track of cell's inner parts ...

Supercomputers assist in search for new, better cancer drugs ...

Best paper award for IST Austria Cryptographers and their collaborators ...

Getting better drugs to market, more quickly ...

The first one bit chemical memory unit: The 'chit' ...

Sandia develops math techniques to improve computational efficiency in quantum chemistry ...

Exa and BP sign multi-year commercial agreement for Exa DigitalROCK relative permeability simulation technology ...

The Cloud

On-Demand LS-DYNA licenses now available in Europe on Rescale Cloud HPC platform ...

Aegis Data, vScaler and GCX unveil three-pronged partnership to provide customers a complete HPC proposition ...

Oracle and AT&T enter into strategic agreement ...

Oracle announces EU Region expansion in Germany ...

Case Western Reserve University research reveals important cancer clues


Matthias Buck, professor of physiology and biophysics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, right, and Zhen-Lu (Andrew) Li, a postdoctoral student in the physiology and biophysics department at the Case School of Medicine, recently published a study showing how cell membranes affect a cancer-causing protein. Credit: Julie E. Washington.
5 May 2017 Cleveland - Supercomputer simulations that predicted the movements of a protein the size of 30 atoms allowed two biophysicists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to uncover important clues to understanding cancer.

This research project, led by Matthias Buck, professor of physiology and biophysics at the school of medicine, showed how cell membranes control the shape and function of an important cancer-causing protein. The findings were recently described in the journal Structure .

The protein, called K-Ras, attaches to cell membranes and causes healthy cell growth when it's activated by growth hormones secreted by the body. But mutated K-Ras proteins get further locked in the "on" position, causing rampant cell growth resulting in cancerous tumours. This is especially prevalent in pancreatic cancer, Matthias Buck said.

"The light switch is broken; it's on all the time", Matthias Buck explained.

For years, researchers have tried to find way to switch off mutated K-Ras proteins by interrupting growth signals reaching the proteins, Matthias Buck said. He and Zhen-Lu (Andrew) Li, a postdoctoral student in the physiology and biophysics department at the Case School of Medicine, tackled the problem by investigating how K-Ras attaches to cell membranes.

The researchers' year-long project found that the protein's function is heavily influenced by lipids, or fatty structures, on the cell membranes. This means that future cancer drugs may need to target both K-Ras and the cell membranes they are attached to, Matthias Buck said.

Matthias Buck and Zhen-Lu Li discovered that the composition of lipids in the cell membranes is what makes K-Ras proteins get stuck in the "on" position. If this type of membrane lipid could be kept away from cell membranes, that might prevent K-Ras proteins from flipping "on" and encouraging cancerous cell growth, Matthias Buck said.

Lipids are naturally occurring molecules that include fats and make up cell membranes.

K-Ras proteins is only 1/100,000th of an inch - or 30 atoms across - in size. To observe something that minuscule, researchers needed to use Case's nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, a device that can peer at molecules, Matthias Buck said.

Matthias Buck and Zhen-Lu Li spent months running real-time simulations on a specialized computer, dubbed Anton, at the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center, which is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. They also used the High Performance Computing Cluster at Case and the Ohio Supercomputer Center in Columbus, Matthias Buck said.

Zhen-Lu Li's specialty was analyzing the supercomputers' results to reveal the larger picture, Matthias Buck said.

Through supercomputer simulations, Matthias Buck and Zhen-Lu Li saw that K-Ras isn't round, but pyramid-shaped with five surfaces that can interact with cell membranes. Supercomputer simulations allowed the researchers to predict, on the atomic level, how K-Ras oriented itself in relation to a cell membrane, as well as the membrane's behaviour.

Since lipids are related to fats, it's logical to ask if a patient's diet could affect the lipid-K-Ras interaction. "It doesn't work that way", Matthias Buck stated.

Instead, future research projects will search for tiny molecules that, when inserted, could turn K-Ras "off". These molecules could be the basis for a future medicine delivered directly to cancer cells, he said.

Source: Cleveland University

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2017-05-08

Focus

Construction started for European Institute for Neuromorphic Computing building in Heidelberg ...

Quantum computing

IBM and Raytheon BBN scientists demonstrate quantum computer performance advantage over classical computers ...

Delft, Aachen and Jülich join forces to build scalable quantum technologies ...

More than 100 million euro for Dutch top science - 18,8 million for quantum computing ...

Five ways quantum computing will change the way we think about computing ...

Focus on Europe

Frauke Gräter is the winner of the 2nd PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC ...

Survey on requirement elicitation for a common e-infrastructure service catalogue now available ...

Supercharging the computers that might save the world ...

HPC-Europa3, new European H2020 project, started on 1st May ...

e-IRG Open Workshop to discuss long-term sustainability of e-Infrastructures ...

Middleware

Altair announces an impressive speaker line-up for its 2017 PBS Works User Group ...

Hardware

University of Waterloo launches new national supercomputer to fuel Big Data research and machine learning ...

Cray reports first quarter 2017 financial results ...

Cray awarded contract to install Cray CS400 cluster supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory ...

Solarflare and LDA Technologies harness the power of Xilinx FPGAs to achieve breakthrough performance in electronic trading ...

Net Futures 2017 Conference to launch programme ...

SDSC to double Comet supercomputer's graphic processor count ...

Applications

Scientific impacts from just three years of Blue Waters ...

NASA launches challenge to accelerate design software operations on supercomputer ...

Scientists discover how world's biggest volcanoes formed ...

Case Western Reserve University research reveals important cancer clues ...

Tsinghua University won ASC17 championship big time ...

Deep learning helps scientists keep track of cell's inner parts ...

Supercomputers assist in search for new, better cancer drugs ...

Best paper award for IST Austria Cryptographers and their collaborators ...

Getting better drugs to market, more quickly ...

The first one bit chemical memory unit: The 'chit' ...

Sandia develops math techniques to improve computational efficiency in quantum chemistry ...

Exa and BP sign multi-year commercial agreement for Exa DigitalROCK relative permeability simulation technology ...

The Cloud

On-Demand LS-DYNA licenses now available in Europe on Rescale Cloud HPC platform ...

Aegis Data, vScaler and GCX unveil three-pronged partnership to provide customers a complete HPC proposition ...

Oracle and AT&T enter into strategic agreement ...

Oracle announces EU Region expansion in Germany ...