Albany Molecular Research Inc. leads European CancerGrid research project

Budapest 26 April 2007Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI) has launched the CancerGrid Project, a three-year multi-disciplinary research programme funded by the European Commission in which ten life sciences companies and academic centres will work together to discover and develop novel anti-cancer agents.

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"This innovative project utilizes Grid-based computing technology for the automated design of chemical libraries, with the goal of discovering potential cancer treatments", stated Michael Guaciaro, Ph.D., president and managing director of AMRI's European operations, located in Budapest, Hungary.

Grid computing uses multiple computational resources in a parallel manner, allowing researchers to tap into a powerful network of interconnected workstations that can process large amounts of data and reduce computational time. In addition to AMRI's site in Budapest, Hungary, the consortium includes both companies and academic centres with established reputations in anti-cancer research and project management: Inte:Ligand in Austria, Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, University of Helsinki in Finland, GKI Economic Research Co., Computer and Automation Research Institute in Hungary, DAC Srl and University of Bari in Italy, University Pompeu Fabra in Spain, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

"We are excited to co-ordinate such a distinguished consortium of cancer-research experts", added Dr. Guaciaro, who noted that the project represents the first large scale application of this technology in drug discovery.

Cancer affects millions of people and accounts for 13 percent of deaths in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the human genome, there is an estimated subset of approximately 3000 genes that encode proteins, including novel cancer-related targets, which could be regulated with drug-like molecules. This consortium will work towards developing specific chemical compound collections i.e., "focused" chemical libraries, that interact with these cancer proteins.

"Our goal is to develop methods for creating chemical libraries containing molecules active against the newly emerging cancer targets", explained Gyorgy Dorman, Ph.D., head of science and technology at AMRI in Budapest, Hungary. "The use of Grid-aided technology should substantially increase both the likelihood of finding novel anti-cancer lead compounds, as well as increase the translation of basic knowledge into the application stage."

This project is also expected to produce and validate a technology for in silico design of chemical libraries and models that predict toxicity and target specificity, which are theoretically applicable to any drug discovery project.

Founded in 1991, AMRI provides scientific services, technologies and products that improve quality of life while delivering excellence, value and maximum return. AMRI's core business consists of a fee-for-service contract services platform encompassing drug discovery, development and manufacturing; and a separate, standalone R&D division comprising proprietary technologies, internal drug discovery and bundled capabilities designed for more collaborative relationships. With locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia, AMRI provides customers with a wide range of services and cost models.

For further information, you can visit the official website of the CancerGrid project.


Leslie Versweyveld

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