Karen's doing great. It feels like we are packing a lot into the summer and having a great time doing it. Last weekend we took the kids to a fairground for example and Ethan & Sydney enjoyed their first rollercoaster. As Ethan(2) said "my heart was going faster and faster". My own was not far off. We will write more about our adventures in future posts. Tonight I want to share a small way in which readers of this blog can help cancer research through Protein Folding.
What is protein folding?
Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, in many ways remains a mystery.
How is folding linked to disease?
When proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes.
If you'd like to learn more about Protein Folding visit Stanford University's page here: http://folding.stanford.edu/
How can I help?
Download the Folding at Home application from here: http://folding.stanford.edu/English/Download
This application runs in the background and downloads small packets of data from Stanford, performs some analysis on the data and then sends the results back to Stanford.
Will it slow my computer down?
No. The application runs entirely in the background on your PC's spare cycles, time the PC would otherwise be idle.
Ideally you could put it on every machine you have access to (office/work PCs are GREAT for this, especially if they're left on all night).
Do I have to register?
No. But you should put in the Team number for KarensCancer which is "144824". This will link your machine's work to Karen's team and we can track how much analysis has been completed as part of this effort.
Whilst this will not help Karen's case directly, the analysis may help researchers better understand what causes or contributes to cancer and other related diseases.