If you are a parent who loathes video games just because your child is obsessed with them, you have to change your mindset. Last year, it was a bunch of nerdy gamers who solved the mystery of AIDS enzyme and now, scientists have found a way to have a better image of cancer cells thanks to the cheap gaming technology available in the market.
Researchers at Wake Forest University have been using Graphics Processing Units (GPU), a technology used in today’s gaming consoles, to get high-quality images of the cancer cells which can help in learning their division and growing patterns. Samuel Cho, computer scientist and biophysicist, believes this will greatly help in developing improved anti-cancer drugs. Thanks to gamers, GPUs prices have gotten down quite significantly during the last couple of years.
If it wasn’t for them (gamers), there was no way I could afford these graphics cards to do these simulations. The more gamers that are out there, the cheaper and cheaper these graphics cards get. I mean, this is just basic economics. Three or four years ago, the GPU cards were about $2,000. Now they’re about $500. The great part about it is that they’re actually getting cheaper and they’re getting even faster, he said.
Using the GPUs, Cho developed a simulation of an RNA molecule, the main building block of human telomerase enzyme. This enzyme acts as a force-shield for cancer cells by preventing them from dying.
When you have a telomerase enzyme, the cell doesn’t know that it is supposed to die. Then it keeps reproducing over and over. This is the very definition of what cancer is.
Cho also stated that the technology is not only useful in cancer research but also in research of other ailments. Let’s see how much breakthrough this discovery can bring against other diseases.
Article publié pour la première fois le 18/02/2012