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Biotech Medicine Supercomputing Science

16-Year-Old Discovers Potential Treatment For Cystic Fibrosis 236

Bob the Super Hamste writes "According to a story at LiveScience, a 16-year-old Canadian 11th grade student has discovered a possible treatment for cystic fibrosis. The treatment is a combination of two drugs which, in a computer simulation on the Canadian SCINET supercomputing network, did not interfere with each other while interacting with the defective protein responsible for the disorder. He has also tested the drug combination on living cells with results that 'exceeded his expectations.'"
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16-Year-Old Discovers Potential Treatment For Cystic Fibrosis

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  • by devleopard ( 317515 ) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:10PM (#36120516) Homepage

    As a 34 year old dealing with the health issues and the ridiculous costs that let me breathe, digest my food, and not be knocked on my butt by blood sugar spikes, I'm excited by this. Goes to show that sometimes we just need some fresh thought at a new problem - the traditional, mega-millions research methods may not be the answer. (similar to Space-X :: NASA)

  • by devleopard ( 317515 ) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:15PM (#36120600) Homepage

    Maybe, but not necessarily. CF isn't a huge profit center like heart disease medications or even HIV. Even though CF is the most common chronic genetic condition in the US, the numbers just aren't there. Most of the major CF meds (Pulmozyme, Creon, Tobi, Cayston, etc) is given away by the pharmas when the patient can't afford. While it may not be true for other conditions, when it comes to CF the pharmas ensure that those who need their meds get them. The emphasis for profit in CF just isn't there.

    I should know - I have Cystic Fibrosis, and despite periods of no insurance, I've never done without. (Yes, I'm in the United States.)

  • by MrBippers ( 1091791 ) on Friday May 13, 2011 @02:29PM (#36120762)
    You clearly misunderstood the post you're responding to, or are yourself, an


    The poster implied that he would sell the rights to a pharma company and indeed licensing compounds from smaller companies/research labs is indeed standard practice. If you meant that the pharma companies don't have enough new drugs of their own, this is in fact wrong.

    The second part of the post implied the kid would never be heard from again. If he made enough money it's possible. I'm guessing you misinterpreted this as a statement the company would buy his compound and it would never see the light of day, thus garnering your idiot comment. While it's not what he meant, it is in fact also common practice in pharma for companies to license the rights to compounds similar to those they are developing just to eliminate potential competition. It's why often when licensing a compound stipulations are added that the purchasing company must intend to develop it.

    All of this is likely moot as the kid does not own the rights to the compounds. TFA doesn't specify whether they are novel but my guess would be he worked with a library of existing compounds that showed some activity against cystic fibrosis in preliminary screenings.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.