Iran's Largest Pedestrian Bridge Wins Architizer A+Awards

Monday, April 27, 2015

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*Iran's Largest Pedestrian Bridge wins Architizer A+Awards

The global architectural award program The Architizer A+Awards has selected Iran’s Tabiat (Nature) Bridge as one of the winners in +Engineering category.

Now in its third year, The Architizer A+Awards are the definitive global architectural award program with 90+ categories and over 300 judges.

In its 2015 edition, the global architectural award program has selected Iran’s Tabiat (Persian for nature) Pedestrian Bridge in the +Engineering category.
Other noteworthy bridge structures that have been announced winners include Glacier Skywalk in Canada, Port Miami Tunnel in USA, Shipyard Cranes Lighting Giants in Croatia, and Klemet in Norway.

Tabiat Bridge was designed in order to improve access for pedestrians between two public parks, which are divided by highways.
Instead of connecting 2 points to each other, the idea was to create multiple paths on each park that would lead people to the bridge.

This bridge is a place to linger rather than just to pass, so there are seating areas and green spaces on all parts of the bridge, also restaurants on the two sides of the lower level, to have enough means to make the users stay on it.

All the levels are connected to each other by stairs and ramps, providing multiple paths throughout the bridge from one level to another. This provides numerous ways to experience the bridge, encouraging pedestrians to wander and get lost on this bridge. The bridges are usually considered as structural projects, but here the approach was more architectural.

All winners will be featured and receive a complimentary copy of the Phaidon - the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print - at the A+Awards Gala in May.

*Iranian researchers produce anti-cancer nano-drug

Iranian researchers have produced a nano-drug which has proven effective in battling treatment resistant cancers.

The Cancer Research Center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences produced the polymer-based nanocarrier for the targeted release of the anti-cancer drug curcumin, ISNA reported.

“This nanocarrier was made without the use of poisonous catalysts and has proven successful in clinical trials on a number cancer patients,”  said Dr Ali Mohammad Alizadeh from the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council.

Research has proven that curcumin, which is found in turmeric, has anti-cancer and cancer preventing properties apart from its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, he added.

When curcumin is prescribed in its edible form, it has a low effect on the targeted tissues because of its low absorption rate and fast metabolism which causes it to be flushed from the body, he noted.

However, by capsuling curcumin in nano-emulsions (nano curcumin) its medical properties increase, Alizadeh noted.

Even if prescribed in high dosages, the drug is proven not poisonous during first-stage clinical trials and is currently near the end of stage two clinical trials on drug-resistant breast and digestive tract cancers.     

Alizadeh added that because all the basic materials required to manufacture nano-curcumin are available in the country it can be domestically mass-produced as an anti-cancer drug.

*Iranian researcher presents best 3D view of universe

An Iranian researcher Maryam Shirazi along with a group of astronomers used the MUSE instrument on European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and have been able to get the best three-dimensional view so far of the deep Universe.

The background image in this composite shows the Hubble image of the region known as the Hubble Deep Field South. New observations using VLT’s MUSE instrument have detected remote galaxies that are not visible to Hubble; two examples are highlighted in this composite view; these objects are completely invisible in the Hubble picture but show up strongly in the appropriate parts of the three-dimensional MUSE data.

By taking very long exposure pictures of regions of the sky with the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have created so-called ‘deep fields’ that have revealed much about the early Universe.

The first deep field, the Hubble Deep Field North, was observed over ten consecutive days during Christmas 1995.

The resulting image consisted of 342 separate exposures, with a total exposure time of more than 100 hours, compared with typical Hubble exposures of a few hours.

The observed region of sky in Ursa Major was carefully selected to be as empty as possible so that Hubble would look far beyond the stars of our own Milky Way and out past nearby galaxies.

The results were astonishing – almost 3,000 galaxies were seen in the image.

In 1996 it was decided to observe a second deep field, the Hubble Deep Field South, to assess whether the Hubble Deep Field North was indeed a special area and thus not representative of the Universe as a whole. This time the field also contained a quasar, which was used as a cosmological lighthouse and provided valuable information about the matter between the quasar and the Earth.

These images gave astronomers a peephole to the ancient Universe for the first time, and caused a real revolution in modern astronomy.

But they did not hold all the answers — to find out more about the galaxies in the images, astronomers had to carefully look at each one with other instruments, a difficult and time-consuming job.

Now, for the first time, VLT’s MUSE instrument can do both jobs at once.

One of the first observations using MUSE after it was commissioned on the VLT in 2014 was a long hard look at the Hubble Deep Field South.

For every part of the view of the Hubble Deep Field South there is not just a pixel in an image, but also a spectrum revealing the intensity of the light’s different component colors at that point – about 90 000 spectra in total. These can reveal the distance, composition and internal motions of hundreds of distant galaxies – as well as catching a small number of very faint stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

The MUSE data revealed more than 20 very faint objects in this small patch of the sky that Hubble did not record at all.

By looking carefully at all the spectra in the MUSE observations of the Hubble Deep Field South, the astronomers measured the distances to 189 galaxies.

They ranged from some that were relatively close, right out to some that were seen when the Universe was less than 1 billion years old.

This is more than 10 times the number of measurements of distance than had existed before for this area of sky.

For the closer galaxies, MUSE can do far more and look at the different properties of different parts of the same galaxy. This reveals how the galaxy is rotating and how other properties vary from place to place. This is a powerful way of understanding how galaxies evolve through cosmic time.

“Now that we have demonstrated MUSE’s unique capabilities for exploring the deep Universe, we are going to look at other deep fields, such as the Hubble Ultra Deep field,” said team member Dr Roland Bacon from the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon in France.

“We will be able to study thousands of galaxies and to discover new extremely faint and distant galaxies. These small infant galaxies, seen as they were more than 10 billion years in the past, gradually grew up to become galaxies like the Milky Way that we see today.”

*Iranian architect wins silver award at Italian contest

A’ Design Award & Competition has announced the results of the 2014-15 design competition. This edition had 836 winners from 83 countries in 89 design disciplines.

It is the world’s largest annual juried competition that honors outstanding designers, architects and design-oriented companies worldwide.

The A’ Design accolades are awarded internationally in a wide array of categories ranging from industrial design to architecture. Every year, projects marked with innovation, technology, design and creativity are awarded.

The winning entries will be exhibited at the World Design Hub 2015 in Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands, while the award ceremony will be held in Lake Como, Italy, on 18 April 2015.

Iranian architect Mohammad Mehdi Fakhimi has won the 2015 Silver A’ Design Award at Interior Space and Exhibition Design Competition for a design titled “Face Top Clinic”, a cosmetic surgery consultation clinic, which was completed in the summer of 2011.

Fakhimi, 35, has a master’s degree in architectural engineering and is a faculty member of Shahid Modarres University.

*Iranian scholar appointed as UNESCO science board

Professor Moazami, Iranian distinguished biotechnology researcher and IROST’s faculty member, was appointed as a member of the Scientific Board of the International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).

IBSP which is operational since 2005 focuses on promoting training and research in the basic sciences, science education and the use of promising advances made in the basic sciences to address environmental challenges, meet human needs and improves the quality of life and education of UNESCO.

The Scientific Board is responsible for monitoring the IBSP and providing advice thereon to the Director-General. It supervises implementation of the IBSP from the scientific and monitoring aspects. It is thus responsible for studying proposals for developing and modifying the programme , assisting in the development of national, regional and international projects related to the IBSP, evaluating project proposals received and making recommendations on new measures that may be required for the successful implementation and development of the programme.

*The Next Einstein May Be An Iranian Woman

According to Forbes report, the scientific discovery engine ‘Sparrho’ has identified Zahra Haghani as being the potential future Einstein.

Sparrho is a scientific recommendation engine providing personalized scientific news-feeds by using proprietary machine learning algorithms. It checks more than 10,000 sources daily and features more than 1.3 million documents in its database, including the latest articles, patents, videos and even grants.

Through a partnership with The British Library, Sparrho has access to all of its content dating back to the 1890s. That allows the company to search Einstein’s work and find all the people who have written similar papers.

Sparrho has analyzed the writings of Iranian Zahra Haghani, 27 years old, and currently an assistant professor at Damghan University, and determined that she was one of several writers who were statistically most similar to Einstein.

Haghani’s research interests include modified gravity, its time evolutions and their applications in cosmology.

She has received an honorable mention in the Gravity Research Foundation Essay contest 2014 for the paper Matter may Matter.

The others who were identified as being potential future Einsteins are: Nikodem Poplawski, theoretical physicist at the University of New Haven; Hajime Sotani, a project assistant professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan; Shinji Tsujikawa, associate professor at the Tokyo University of Science; and J. Brian Pitts based at the University of Cambridge.

*Iranian researcher wins UNESCO award

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has awarded an Iranian woman scientist Soudabeh Davaran at its headquarters in Paris, Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology said.

Davaran is associate professor of pharmaceutical materials at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Tabriz University of Medical Science, ISNA wrote.

She received her MS in organic chemistry in 1990 and her PhD in polymer science in 1996 both from the Faculty of Chemistry in Tabriz University of Medical Science.

Davaran currently teaches organic chemistry, polymer, synthesis of organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry (drug synthesis). She is a member of Iran’s Chemical and Engineering Society.

She won the first rank of 9th Razi Festival in Pharmacy (Basic Science Research), was selected as an elite woman of Muslim world in 2007, included in the first edition of “Who’s Who in Plastics and Polymers”, Technomic Publishing Company Inc, Pennsylvania, USA, considered one of the TOP 100 SCIENTISTS of 2008 and 2012 by the International Biographical Center of Cambridge and honored as the best researcher by many research domestic entities.

Davaran’s books include Dyehouse in Textile Industry, Advanced Nanoparticles in Biomedical Sciences and Impacts of Biodegradable.

*Iranians find stem cells effective for reversing type 2 diabetes

Three Iranian scientists Alireza Rezania, Ali Asadi and Majid Mojibian from University of British Columbia have shown for the first time that type 2 diabetes can be treated with a combination of specially-cultured stem cells and conventional diabetes drugs.

Stem cells – generic cells that haven’t yet taken on specialized form and function – have recently been used by scientists at UBC and elsewhere to reverse type 1 diabetes in mice. In type 1 diabetes, which usually begins in childhood, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, ISNA wrote.

The results, published in Stem Cell Reports, hold much broader potential because type 2 diabetes – which usually arises in adulthood and often stems from poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity – accounts for 90 percent of diabetes cases.

Timothy Kieffer, a professor in the department of cellular and physiological sciences, simulated type 2 diabetes in mice by putting them on a high-fat and high-calorie diet for several weeks. Kieffer’s team surgically implanted pancreatic-like cells that had been grown in the laboratory from human stem cells.

Mice that received a combination of the cells with one of three diabetes drugs became as “glucose tolerant” as the healthy mice. They were able to keep their blood sugar in check, even after ingesting a sugary meal. In contrast, a group of mice with simulated Type 2 diabetes that received the drugs but not the transplants remained glucose-intolerant.

“Being able to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels is important because evidence suggests it’s those spikes that do a lot of the damage – increasing risks for blindness, heart attack, and kidney failure,” said Kieffer, a member of UBC’s Life Sciences Institute.

The combination therapy also produced an unexpected but welcome result: the mice returned to a normal weight, the same weight as the healthy control group mice that had been reared on a low-fat diet.

“Their weight loss was intriguing, because some of the common diabetes therapies often lead to weight gain,” Kieffer said. “We need to do more studies to understand how the cell transplants lead to weight loss.”

The team is also investigating whether higher number of progenitor cells – beyond the five million tested in this study – can achieve the same results without the need for additional drugs.

*UNESCO pays tribute to world reknown Iranian Professor Khodadoost

Professor Khodadoost is a veteran scientist pioneering in ophthalmology.

The United Nations organization held a ceremony in the southern Iran city of Shiraz to celebrate the sublime status of the Iranian professor.

Addressing the ceremony, head of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO Mohammadreza Saeedabadi referred to Professor Khodadoost as a scholarly physician who owes all its success to his beautiful views towards the Almighty and his creations as well as his love for people.

Saying that the professor contributed immensely to production and growth of knowledge by his effective and influential presence in different universities, he said that it is for the first time that the UNESCO is honoring an Iranian figure inside the country who is still living.

Saeedabadi had already reiterated that commemorating the exalted personality of Professor Khodadoost is a prophecy for the UNESCO, as transferring the scientific and exalted spiritual traits to the new generation is possible through such commemoration services.

Professor Ali Asghar Khodadoost was born in 1935 in Shiraz.

He completed his studies up to the end of high school and started teaching at a primary school there.

In 1954, he began his higher studies in Shiraz University's Faculty of Medial Sciences as a top student.

When he completed his six year studies successfully and with full A grade report cards the professor began as an intern to Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Department of Shiraz University's Namazi Hosplital till 1962.

In that year he left for the US to complete his specialized studies in the famous John Hopkins University.

He was admitted as the first and only foreign assistant in the Ophthalmology Section of John Hopkins University in 1963 and throughout the next three years of serving as an assistant there, he was praised as the best assistant of the Wilmer Ophthalmology Center.

A large number of Professor Khodadoost's articles were published in the website of the Pop Medicine and other international scientific perioricals.

In 1968 he got back to Iran and began teaching in Faculty of Ophthalmology of the University of Shiraz as a full professor.

From 1968 to 1980 he frequented once every six months between the University of Shiraz and the John Hopkins University where in addition to teaching he also pursed his scientific projects.

During the same period he also taught as guest professor in various countries' universities, including those in China, Turkey, Syria, Oman, Peru, Ecuador, and Italy.

In 1982 he was appointed as a full professor in Faculty of Ophthalmology of Italy's Sicily University and in 1992 he established the Connecticut Ophthalmology Center in Newington where he continued as the senior supervisor.

The mighty Iranian ophthalmologist from 1980 on, frequently returned to Iran and flew back to US, participating both in hospital treatments of the patients and in academic trainings of young ophthalmologists of the universities of both countries, especially in Tehran and Shiraz.

His fame in the world in addition to the publication of several scientific articles and broad scale research works in various fields is due to the new remedial methods that he has initiated in eye operations.

The eye membrane section of the John Hopkins University is named after professor as Khodadoost Basement Membrane Line.

*Anousheh Ansari Wins the National Space Society’s Space Pioneer Award

The National Space Society announces that serial entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari is the winner of its 2015 Space Pioneer Award for “Service to the Space Community.” This award will be presented at the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference. This will be the 34th ISDC and will be held in Toronto, Canada, at the Hyatt Regency Toronto (downtown). The conference will run from May 20-24, 2015.

The Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at left, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988.

Anousheh Ansari has been a major contributor to the X-Prize Foundation which made her a driving force in the commercialization of the space sector. She is the first female private space explorer, providing an inspirational story that has made her mark in history. Ansari’s accomplishments as a serial entrepreneur, innovator, and humanitarian have been an inspiration to communities and individuals across the globe, especially young girls. Ansari acts as a Space Ambassador promoting the benefits of space exploration to humankind, and also as a role model for global causes including social entrepreneurship, peace and understanding among nations, and inspiring the young generation to pursue their dreams and build a better future for all.

*Iranian researcher finds Alzheimer’s protein in young brain

An Iranian researcher Keiwan Rezaiezadeh, along with his colleagues at South California University, has found that blocking a substance in brain would make a balance to body’s immune system and destroy poisonous amyloid-beta plaques.

A brain protein – called Glut1 – is often associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but has now been found in young brains, ISNA reported. 

The substance is responsible for carrying glucose across the blood-brain barrier that helps to protect the organ.

Alzheimer’s patients often show a shortage of the Glut1 protein.

Researchers of University of Southern California in the Keck School of Medicine believe a shortage of this protein could not only indicate the presence of the disease, but may actually aggravate symptoms.

“We do not know yet whether medicine can restore Glut1 expression, but we believe that targeting the protein may help prevent Alzheimer’s from getting worse among individuals predisposed to develop the disease,” the researchers said.

Human brain uses glucose as its main energy source, and Glut1 carries the chemical over the protective blood-brain layer. This protective barrier normally prevents pathogens in the blood from entering brain tissue. Studies have shown a reduction in glucose uptake among people with a genetic disposition toward the disease, as well as those who have the disease, but do not show symptoms.

Mice with Glut1 deficiencies were examined as part of the study, and low concentrations of the protein were found to reduce the uptake of glucose by the brain, and result in behavioral changes in the rodents. Brain also started to degenerate, and the blood-brain barrier was reduced in rats as young as six months old. Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be fueled by increasing concentrations of amyloid-beta peptides in brain, which results from a breakdown in the barrier.

*25 Iranians among world’s highly cited researchers

Twenty-five Iranian researchers have been named among the world’s 2015 Highly Cited Researchers by Thomson Reuters. The Highly Cited Researchers 2015 list showcases scientists at the forefront of their fields.

The researchers include Mohammad Abdollahi, Reza Malekzadeh, Morteza Mahmoudi, Baqer Larijani, Nima Rezaei, Farshad Farzadfar, Rasoul Dinarvand, Mohammad Reza Zarrindast, Ahmad Reza Dehpour, Asghar Aqa-Mohammadi, Roja Rahimi, Mostafa Moein, Fatemeh Etyabi and Abbas Shafiei from Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Fereidoun Azizi from Shahid Beheshti Medical University, Esmailzadeh from Isfahan Medical University, Hossein Hosseinzadeh from Mashhad Medical University, Roya Kelishadi and Leyla Azadbakht from Isfahan Medical University and Ali Montazeri from University Jihad.

Shokoufeh Nikfar from Iran’s Food and Drug Administration, Mehrdad Hamidi from Zanjan Medical University, Pedram Rafiei and Amir Azadi from Shiraz Medical University and Mohammad Barzegar Jalali from Tabriz Medical University are also on the list.

Having 14 most-cited scientists, Tehran University of Medical Sciences topped the universities nationwide. Thompson Reuters studied citations from 2004 to 2014.

With all the resources they need in one place, Essential Science Indicators can determine the influential individuals, institutions, papers, publications and countries in their field of study, as well as emerging research areas that could impact their work.

This unique and comprehensive compilation of science performance statistics and science trends data is based on journal article publication counts and citation data from Thomson Scientific databases.

It is an ideal analytical resource for policymakers, administrators, analysts and information specialists in government agencies, universities, corporations, private laboratories, publishing companies and foundations, as well as members of the scientific press

*Iran uses stem cell therapy to heal heart damage

At least 60 patients suffering from heart disease have been treated in the last three years by Mashhad University of Medical Sciences’ researchers by using stem cell therapy.

The university’s Stem Cell Unit was established in 2012 to conduct research on stem cells, Fars News Agency reported.

The unit aims to link the applications of stem cells in fundamental sciences and clinical fields. The cells of the patient are received, transferred to the intended center and used for patients within a few hours.

The other new method of treating the patients with stem cell is by injecting the cells in open heart surgery through which 12 people were treated.

The stem cells are injected into the injured cells and other places are not affected.

In recent years, Iranian scientists and experts have taken wide leaps in scientific, medical and technological fields. Iran has made remarkable progress in stem cell science in the past few years and is now revered as a world pioneer.

The country has also made great strides in other areas of medical science and is now producing unique medications for treating several types of cancer and AIDS

*Iranian researcher makes breakthrough in facial recognition

An Iranian researcher Mohammad Saberian has developed a new software which recognizes the face from any angle and makes it easier to recognize the face.

The ability of a new facial recognition algorithm to recognize partially obscured and tilted faces is being been hailed as a potentially game-changing breakthrough for the technology.

Developed by Sachin Farfade and Mohammad Saberian at Yahoo Labs in California and Li-Jia Li at Stanford University, the so-called “Deep Dense Face Detector” algorithm aims to identify faces at a wide range of angles, even when partially covered.

Farfade and Saberian used a database of 200,000 images that included faces at various angles and orientations and a further 20 million images without faces. They then trained a machine learning method known as “Deep Convolutional Neural Networks” by processing batches of 128 images over 50,000 iterations.

The algorithm is built on one developed by computer scientists Paul Viola and Michael Jones in 2001 that looks for a light vertical line (the nose) on faces crossed by a dark horizontal line (the eyes) in a "detection cascade."

Because it can pick out faces in an image in real time and be easily incorporated in devices, the Viola and Jones algorithm has been widely adopted. However, it is limited to full view frontal upright faces.

The Deep Face tool used by Facebook also uses a neural network technique to help recognize users in photos. Its algorithm identifies faces 'as accurately as a human' and uses a 3D model to virtually rotate faces so they are facing the camera.

*Iranian helps develop quantum memories

An Iranian researcher Faraz Najafi, along with his colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has developed calculations based on controlling atomic spins.

In a paper appearing in Nature Communications, MIT researchers describe a new design that in experiments extended the superposition time of a promising type of qubit a hundredfold, ISNA wrote.

In the long run, the work could lead toward practical quantum computers. But in the short run, it could enable the indefinite extension of quantum-secured communication links, a commercial application of quantum information technology that currently has a range of less than 100 miles.

The researchers’ qubit design employs nitrogen atoms embedded in synthetic diamond. When nitrogen atoms happen to be situated next to gaps in the diamond’s crystal lattice, they produce “nitrogen vacancies”, which enable researchers to optically control the magnetic orientation, or “spin”, of individual electrons and atomic nuclei.

Spin can be up, down, or a superposition of the two. To date, the most successful demonstrations of quantum computing have involved atoms trapped in magnetic fields. But “holding an atom in vacuum is difficult, so there has been a big effort to try to trap them in solids”, said Dirk Englund, the Jamieson Career Development Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and corresponding author on the new paper.

“In particular, you want a transparent solid, so you can send light in and out. Crystals are better than many other solids, like glass, in that their atoms are nice and regular, and their electronic structure is well defined. And among all the crystals, diamond is a particularly good host for capturing an atom, because it turns out that the nuclei of diamond are mostly free of magnetic dipoles, which can cause noise on the electron spin.”

In bulk diamond, superpositions of the spins in nitrogen vacancies can last almost a second. But in order to communicate with each other, nitrogen-vacancy qubits need to be able to transfer information via particles of light, or photons. This requires positioning the vacancy inside an optical resonator, which temporarily traps photons. For quantum computing applications, however, it’s not enough to keep individual qubits in superposition. Their quantum states also need to be “entangled”, so that if one qubit falls out of superposition — if it takes on a definite value of either 0 or 1 — it constrains the possible states of the other qubits.

In systems that use light to move information between nitrogen-vacancy qubits, entanglement occurs when light particles emitted by the qubits reach an optical component — such as a beam splitter — at the same time.
With the earlier systems, it generally took several minutes to produce entanglement between qubits. With the new system, it should take milliseconds.

*Iran to establish UNESCO Chair in Traditional Medicine

Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, along with Iran’s Academy of Medical Sciences, has received the UN body’s approval to establish a chair for traditional medicine, secretary- general of UNESCO National Commission said.

Mohammad Reza Saeedabadi added that this chair is the 19th UNESCO chair established in Iran, noting that traditional medicine and herbal medicines have a special status in Iran's thousand-year history.

“Prominent Persian scientists, including Ibn Sina and Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi, are well-known figures whose books are widely used across the world,” he said.

“Iran has appropriate scientific and historical capacities to help develop traditional medicine and Iranian universities have carried out valuable research activities in the field.”

Saeedabadi hoped that the chair will enable researchers to use national, regional and international capacities to conduct new studies.

*Iranian helps develop computer model for leukemia drugs

An Iranian researcher Laleh Haghverdi at Munich University, along with her colleagues at Cambridge University, has developed the first comprehensive model for simulating blood cells growth that can lead to making new generation of drugs for treating leukemia.

The human body produces over 2.5 million new blood cells during every second of our adult lives, but how this process is controlled remains poorly understood.

This interdisciplinary team of researchers has developed a computer model to help gain a better understanding of the control mechanisms that keep blood production normal, ISNA reported.

“With this new computer model, we can carry out simulated experiments in seconds that would take many weeks to perform in the laboratory, dramatically speeding up research into blood development and the genetic mutations that cause leukemia,” said Professor Bertie Gottgens whose research team is based at the University’s Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.

“What is groundbreaking about the current work is that we show how we can automate the process of building such programs based on raw experimental data. It provides us with a blueprint to develop computer models relevant to other human diseases, including common cancers such as breast and colon cancer,” researchers said.

To construct the computer model, PhD student Vicki Moignard from the Stem Cell Institute measured the activity of 48 genes in over 3,900 blood progenitor cells that give rise to all other types of blood cell: red and white blood cells, and platelets.

These genes include TAL1 and RUNX1, both of which are essential for the development of blood stem cells, and hence to human life.

Computational biology PhD student, Steven Woodhouse, then used the resulting dataset to construct the computer model of blood cell development, using computational approaches originally developed at Microsoft Research for synthesis of computer code.
Importantly, subsequent laboratory experiments validated the accuracy of this new computer model.

Source: ISNA, Iran Daily, Mehr News, IRNA