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Challenge Model the Functional Molecular Networks in a Cancer Cell
Model the Functional Molecular Networks in a Cancer Cell
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 550
Posted: Sep 28 2011
Challenge ID: 9932716
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Given gene expression data from Affymetrix microarrays, build a biological model that explains the molecular biology of cancer cell function in response to a treatment of unknown mechanism.  This Reduction-to-Practice Challenge requires a written proposal describing the model and 1-10 genes predicted to potentiate or antagonize the effects of the compound.  The Seeker will evaluate predictions using their experimental RNAi “knock-down” assay.


The Seeker wishes to identify genes that potentiate or antagonize apoptosis in cancer cells treated with a compound of interest (i.e., combination treatment of compound + RNAi = significantly more or less cell death than compound alone). 

Propose a compelling biological model that explains how experimental treatments are affecting the behavior of (in vitro) cancer cells in terms of detailed molecular pathways and mechanisms.  Models must be connected to the molecular biology of cancer and be supported by scientific references/literature citations, pathways, protein-protein interaction databases, or other relevant publicly available resources.  Experimental microarray data are available as Challenge Attachments. 

Submissions to the Challenge must include the following:

  1. A detailed description of a compelling biological model that explains how the experimental treatment affects the sensitive cell line but not the resistant cell line, and how an inactive structural analog does not affect the sensitive cell line.  The description must address specific Technical Requirements presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge.
  2. Rationale as to why the Solver believes that the proposed biological model explains the gene expression data.  This rationale should be supported with relevant examples and literature/patent citations.
  3. A list of 1-10 Entrez gene ID’s indicating genes that will validate the biological model in an RNAi “knock-down” assay.  At the Seeker’s discretion, small interfering RNA (siRNA) or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) reagents will be ordered from commercial sources and tested in the Seeker’s in-house “knock-down” assay.
  4. The submission must allow the Seeker “freedom to practice”; the submission must not be encumbered by patents that limit scope or applicability. 

The award is contingent upon the Seeker’s theoretical evaluation and experimental validation of the submitted Solutions by the Seeker.  To be eligible for a full award, the proposed biological model must be experimentally validated. 

The Seeker does not require transfer of intellectual property for the analytical or modeling approach, nor for any tools used to build the model.  However, to receive an award, Solvers must transfer to the Seeker their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to any biological model and/or gene predictions contained in a submission. 

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InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an RTP Challenge?

An InnoCentive RTP (Reduction to Practice) Challenge is a prototype that proves an idea, and is similar to an InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge in its high level of detail. However, an RTP requires the Solver to submit a validated solution, either in the form of original data or a physical sample. Also the Seeker is allowed to test the proposed solution. For details about treatment of IP rights, please see the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

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