Chiba University, IBM and Chiba Cancer Center Logo A new World Community Grid project has been launched with the aim of developing a drug treatment for neuroblastoma. This type of cancer is said to be the main culprit responsible for most of the deaths of children having solid tumors. This project is jointly launched by IBM, Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute and Chiba University in Japan.

Cancer is said to be the leading cause of fatality among children. The survival rate of children with neuroblastoma is said to be less than 40 percent. The cause of this potentially deadly disease is not yet known, however it is believed that it takes place through accidental cell growth. This cell growth is believed to take place during the development of the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal glands in the child. It is said that a child may develop this disease in the first two years of its life.

The genetic research undergoing at the Chiba Cancer Center Research shows great potential for treating neuroblastoma. A new project called the Help Fight Childhood Cancer makes use of idle computational power from the computers of volunteers, to detect a particular drug that may potentially curb the growth of cancer.

Principal investigator at the Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute, Dr. Akira Nakagawara, says that, “Our promising research will be further advanced by the free computing power we will use from World Community Grid. It would take us about 100 years using our own computing resources to make progress, but with access to one of the world’s largest virtual supercomputers, we estimate to complete this project in 2 years, and begin laboratory trials.”

Stanley S. Litow, Vice President, IBM, says that, “We have the potential to find a drug treatment for one of the most common childhood cancers in our lifetime, and it’s the volunteers who sign up to allow their computers to be used coupled with innovative grid technology that can make the difference. World Community Grid has been an innovative resource for researchers who have promising projects yet lack the funding and availability to the world’s largest supercomputers.”

It has been stated that signing up for this project could help researchers in coming up with an effective treatment against cancer. They state that the understanding that the obtained results must be shared may ensure the joint efforts of experts, worldwide. It was also said that all the obtained results would be made available to the general scientific community to together fight against cancer and develop an effective drug against it.