A drug maker has enlisted the help of the general public to track down people with extraordinary characteristics whose genetic make-up could form the basis of new medicines.
UCB, a Belgian pharmaceutical company, has launched a competition to find and describe individuals, families or communities who possess rare characteristics such as low sensitivity to pain or the ability to heal from injury quickly.
It hopes that the submissions will identify groups who have previously gone unnoticed by medical researchers and that the genetic basis of their abilities can be used to develop new drugs.
A ten-year-old Pakistani street performer's ability to cut himself with knives and walk on burning coals without experiencing pain caught the attention of researchers in 2006. Scientists have since discovered that he and a handful of other people in the region lack a particular protein on the surface of their nerves and hope to replicate this trait to treat severe pain.
A new osteoporosis drug, currently in late stage clinical trials, is based on the study of an Afrikaner community in South Africa with exceptionally strong and dense bones.
The best submission will be awarded $10,000 (£6,020), and extra bonus awards of at least $1,000 will go to entrants judged to have provided an "especially interesting or relevant entry".
and if they can be exploited and turned into therapeutics there are a handful of conditions I can see being treated.
reply to post by boncho
FWIW my superpower is being able to pick non-winning lottery numbers. Proven fact 99.99% reproducible ability.edit on 091pm2323pm72014 by Bassago because: (no reason given)
reply to post by boncho
I would sign up, if I thought that this was for the better of people. But there's got to be a hidden agenda to this - brings to mind super soldiers such as those in G.I. Joe, where they are immune to pain & able to flush out poison with their own bodies. Or, if they are looking for "psychic" type superpowers, then the plasmids from Bioshock seem like a likely reality.
In my case, I don't get sick much - but when I do get sick, I seem to get over it quicker than most (years back, when I had to get my blood drawn, it was noted that I had a lower white cell count; if anything, wouldn't I get sick more often?). The other thing that I consider "superhuman" (in the context that most people don't normally do this), is that I overheat in winter. I've gone on hikes in temps like this, dressed in a hoodie and gloves. I've found that I can stay like this for extended periods (usually about 2 miles, sometimes more, sometimes less), and still be quite warm.
Last thing is that I do seem to meet the article, in that I've got a pretty good recovery from bumps & bruises. I've landed flat on my back from falling out of a tree, stepped on rusty nails (and had them stick into my skin), and took a
n arrowmachete to the knee down to the bone. Probably should have been looked at by a doctor, but everything healed up.
Natural immunities and genetic advantages are prevalent among thousands of people, and if they can be exploited and turned into therapeutics there are a handful of conditions I can see being treated.