China’s supercomputer helps fight diabetic complications

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GUANGZHOU, June 9: Chinese scientists, leveraging one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, have identified a promising therapeutic strategy for treating diabetic complications. The Tianhe-2 supercomputer in south China’s Guangdong Province, ranking 16 among the global top 500 fastest computers published last month, has been used as a platform for drug discovery. Supported by Virtual Screening on Tianhe-2 (VSTH), a high-throughput screening platform running on Tianhe- 2, the team led by researchers from Sun Yat-sen University has found that 2MBC, a branched-chain acylcarnitine, can significantly speed up the rate of blood clot formation in the body.

Photo taken on Jan 21, 2019 shows the computer room of Tianhe-1 at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin, North China. [Photo/Xinhua]

Diabetes ranks among the most prevalent chronic conditions worldwide. It has the potential to trigger a cascade of complications including blood clot formation, a leading contributor to both disability and mortality within the diabetic population. The researchers have found that 2MBC exerts a direct infl uence on platelets, augmenting their capabilities for aggregation, spreading, and contraction, and the effect is present in both rodents and human.

The chemical is a metabolite originating from the gut microbiota, and therefore, pre-treatment with antibiotics to clear the gut bacteria effectively halts this metabolic conversion, according the study published recently in the journal Cell Metabolism. This discovery paves the way for novel therapeutic targets and innovative strategies in combating complications associated with metabolic disorders like diabetes, said the researchers. Also, the Tianhe-2 team has vowed to enhance the drug discovery platform, capitalizing on the rich data resources and the platform’s superior performance to catalyze groundbreaking innovation in the field of biomedicine. (Xinhua)

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