Supercomputers Work Like Test Tubes

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7th April 2008, 01:43pm - Views: 808
Supercomputers Work Like Test Tubes

The development of new drugs has been given a high-tech speed boost by chemists
at the Australian National University using a supercomputer.

The ability for drug molecules to donate or accept electrons, their redox potential, is a significant indicator of how powerfully they work in our bodies. Through improving the calculations of redox potentials chemists can make better predictions for drug development.

"We have shown that the supercomputer results are as accurate as those obtained
from the laboratory ," says Dr Mansoor Namazian of the Australian National
University and member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry
and Biotechnology.

"This method saves lots of time and resources", he adds, "as we can take many
potential drugs and feed their chemical structures into a computer and calculate
which of those has the desired redox potential without having to do all the time
consuming experiments on all of them."

The group used vitamin P, also known as Rutin, to successfully demonstrate their
method. It is a large compound with many known bioactivities.

"The ability to get such excellent agreement between theoretical and experimental results using vitamin P", says the researcher leader Dr Michelle Coote of the ANU and member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology, "demonstrates the power of this new method and also the potential for making drug discovery more targeted."

The results for Rutin as well as for anti-cancer agents such as Chlorogenic acid, Quercetin, and Coumestan have recently been published in international journals such as Biophysical Chemistry.

Media contact: Dr Michelle Coote +61 (0)2 6125 3771
Felicity Jensz, [email protected], 0404804384
More information:
Images available on request

SOURCE: ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology

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