View Full Version : U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research That Stumped Scientists for Years

09-19-2011, 12:09 PM
In just three weeks, online gamers deciphered the structure of a retrovirus protein that has stumped scientists for over a decade, and a study out Sunday says their breakthrough opens doors for a new AIDS drug design.

The protein, called a protease, plays a critical role in how some viruses, including HIV, multiply. Intensive research has been underway to find AIDS drugs that can deactivate proteases, but scientists were hampered by their inability to crack the enzyme's structure.

Looking for a solution, researchers at the University of Washington turned to Foldit, a program created by the university a few years ago that transforms problems of science into competitive computer games, and challenged players to use their three-dimensional problem-solving skills to build accurate models of the protein.

With days, the gamers generated models good enough for the researchers to refine into an accurate portrayal of the enzyme's structure. What's more, the scientists identified parts of the molecule that are likely targets for drugs to block the enzyme.

"These features provide opportunities for the design of antiretroviral drugs, including anti-HIV drugs," the authors wrote.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/19/us-gamers-crack-puzzle-in-aids-research-that-stumped-scientists-for-years/#ixzz1YPZ716fK

Pretty cool.

09-19-2011, 02:07 PM
All teenagers in America are going to now cite this when their parents tell them they are rotting their brain with videogames!

It is cool, and I hope it leads to some new treatments or a cure. A vaccine would be even better, but that's not what this project was about.

09-21-2011, 12:26 AM
Teenagers and Older gamers can point to MANY studies that show that old myth is junk, gaming increases a lot of higher functions. Hand-eye coordination being one. In fact doctors that are gamers are better surgeons than non-gamers.

Funny that SGU pilot episode came true, but in medicine not space travel :D :lol: