If your computer is on 24/7, then you can help scientists studying Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and many cancers by simply running a piece of software on your computer.
Folding@home is a distributed computing project for disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics. The project uses the idle processing resources of thousands of personal computers owned by volunteers who have installed the software on their systems. Its primary purpose is to determine the mechanisms of protein folding, which is the process by which proteins reach their final three-dimensional structure, and to examine the causes of protein misfolding. This is of significant academic interest with major implications for medical research into Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and many forms of cancer, among other diseases.
What are proteins?
Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Proteins help your body break down food into energy, regulate your moods, and fight disease.
What is protein folding?
Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or "fold." While protein folding is critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, much of the process remains a mystery.
For more information see the Science page.
Why is it important to understand how proteins fold?
When proteins do not fold correctly, also known as misfolding, there can be serious health consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many cancers.
If we better understand protein misfolding we can design drugs and therapies to combat these illnesses.
For more information see the Folding@home FAQ on diseases.
How do I do this?
Go to the Folding@Home site and download the software. During the install process you will be asked to create a username and select a team. Please use the team number 223194 which is the Christopher Court Foundation team.