Military Research Could Help Battle Celiac Disease

 NPR (1/11, Barclay) in its “Shots” blog reported, “Students at the University of Washington used a protein-folding program initially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to come up with a treatment for celiac disease.” DARPA Program Manager Mildred Donlon explained that the UW biochemistry lab in Seattle used some DARPA “money to fund its work, including development of a program called FoldIt, which enlists researchers (and citizen scientists) to figure out which among many possible protein structures is the best one to solve certain biomedical problems.” Then, a group of UW undergraduates “used FoldIt to come up with an enzyme that could break down gluten in the stomach.” The details of their research were published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.