Researchers Model New Drugs at the Quantum Level

Researchers have used the IBM supercomputer Blue Gene to better understand how new medicines function on the quantum level, speeding trial times and improving research. 

What's the Latest Development?


Using an IBM supercomputer, biomedical researchers have simulated precisely how an anti-cancer drug works on the quantum level, representing a positive step toward a new era of nano-medicine. The treatment in question is one such nano-drug, "82 carbon atoms in the shape of a so-called buckyball that forms a cage enclosing a single atom of a heavy metal called gadolinium." With the help of the supercomputer, researchers have discovered that the drug, which works by inhibiting enzymes that encourage the spread of cancer, attaches to a specific location on the enzyme. 

What's the Big Idea?

As computing power increases, drug makers are increasingly able to model drug interactions in laboratory settings, understanding how medicine works on a molecular level which speeds trial times and makes experiments more effective. Bruce Tidor, a computational biologist at MIT, said: "High-performance supercomputing is becoming especially important in the study of large, complex, multiscale systems. ... This requires simulation models at many scales—from cell circuits to fluid dynamics to molecular modeling and quantum mechanics—to all be sewn together within the appropriate framework. This is going to be important for drug discovery in the future and will require supercomputing to do well."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Why federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less