Australian Scientists Discover Possible AIDS Cure

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Australian Scientists Discover Possible AIDS Cure

Postby Alan C. Lawhon » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:05 pm

http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/01 ... -aids-cure
http://tinyurl.com/atdux5s

What’s interesting about this research is that Dr. Hallich’s team is using the same approach as the Pande Group, (i.e. studying and understanding the interaction of a key protein with the cell membrane - along with some “creative thinking”), in order to identify candidate drugs and a possible new treatment. If this discovery holds up in animal trials (and eventually in human trials) as a viable method for restraining the AIDS virus, discoveries involving other proteins (related to other diseases) are just a matter of time. This is very encouraging news.

I didn't notice anything in the article (or in Dr. Hallich's television interview) indicating a collaboration with the Pande Group or Stanford University, but it would really be great if this latest discovery is based, at least in part, on study and analysis of a folding simulation in which many of us donors may have participated. (This is great news even if it's not the result of a collaboration!) :)
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Re: Australian Scientists Discover Possible AIDS Cure

Postby Jesse_V » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:27 pm

A lot of people are working on these problems from a lot of different directions. Understandably some groups of scientists are working towards the solutions the same way as another group. The beauty of scientific discoveries is that their work is published for other scientists to read. Scientific papers almost always contain references to other works, so sometimes it gets confusing to figure out who was inspired by whom.

Too often, the person who places the final piece on the jigsaw puzzle gets all the media coverage, when in reality there were a lot of people who filled in the middle pieces before them. (Out of all the people who have heard of DNA, who have heard of Drs. Watson and Crick, and of those, who have heard of Rosalind Franklin?) This is clearly not the final piece, but it looks like the puzzle is getting filled in. Some jigsaw pieces have an identifiable piece of the picture on the front, and when you figure out where it goes it's enough to make you say "aha! I got this!" No way of knowing if the person who placed that piece is actually going to finish the puzzle, because there's a lot of people placing pieces and it's basically a race. It's helpful to have a group that can place pieces at 6.2 petaFLOPS. :)
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Re: Australian Scientists Discover Possible AIDS Cure

Postby Alan C. Lawhon » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:09 am

Jesse:

I was not aware of Rosalind Franklin, so I looked her up on Wikipedia. I also located this article:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/rosal ... egacy.html

in one of the footnotes. It seems that she was treated shabbily by her colleagues, especially her male colleagues. My foster mother, who is now 80 years old, tells me that this kind of blatant sexism was rampant back in the 1940's and the 1950's and even into the 1960's. It's really unfortunate that Rosalind doesn't receive at least some recognition for discovery of the DNA molecule, but the Nobel Prize committee apparently has a policy against making posthumous awards.

The way Rosalind Franklin was treated reminds me of another great scientist who made stellar contributions and yet was (literally) hounded to his death: Alan Turing. It took the British government more than fifty years to "officially" apologize for the way Turing was treated. I hope we're getting past all that as there are quite a number of brilliant minds who some people may consider quirky or "eccentric" but who nevertheless have major contributions they can give for the betterment of all mankind. Such people need to be nurtured and encouraged - not hounded and persecuted.
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A Footnote Concerning Rosalind Franklin

Postby Alan C. Lawhon » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:20 am

Here's a "Nova" documentary covering the life of Rosalind Franklin that aired on PBS back in 2003.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=0tmNf6ec2kU
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