" "
Satellite Banner
Informatics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Using Mathematical Modelling in the Fight Against Cancer

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Different treatments and genetic modifications might allow cancer-killing, oncolytic viruses to overcome the natural defences that cancer cells use.

“Oncolytic viruses are special in that they specifically target cancer cells,” explains Dr. Bell, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and professor at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. “Unfortunately, cancer is a very complicated and diverse disease, and some viruses work well in some circumstances and not well in others. As a result, there has been a lot of effort in trying to modify the viruses to make them safe, so they don’t target healthy tissue and yet are more efficient in eliminating cancer cells.”

Dr. Bell and co-author Dr. Mads Kaern, an assistant professor in the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair at the University's Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, led a team that has used mathematical modelling to devise strategies for making cancer cells exquisitely sensitive to virus infection — killing them without affecting normal, healthy cells.

"By using these mathematical models to predict how viral modifications would actually impact cancer cells and normal cells, we are able to accelerate the pace of research," says Dr. Kaern, who is also cross-appointed to the University’s Department of Physics. "It allows us to quickly identify the most promising approaches to be tested in the lab, something that is usually done through expensive and time-consuming trial and error."

Drs. Bell and Kaern have established a mathematical model that described an infection cycle, including the way a virus replicated, spread and activated cellular defense mechanisms. From there, they used knowledge about key physiological differences between normal cells and cancer cells to identify how modifying the genome of the virus might counter the anti-viral defenses of cancer cells. Model simulations were remarkably accurate, with the identified viral modifications efficiently eradicating cancer in a mouse model of the disease.

"What is remarkable is how well we could actually predict the experimental outcome based on computational analysis,” says Dr. Bell. “This work creates a useful framework for developing similar types of mathematical models in the fight against cancer."

The research, funded by an innovation grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, is only the beginning, explains Dr. Kaern. “We worked with a specific kind of cancer cell. We will now expand that to look at other cancer cell types and see to what degree the predictions we made in one special case can be generalized to others, and to identify strategies to target other types of cancer cells.”

The findings may also help researchers better understand the interaction between these cancer cells and the virus. While one magic cure-all will likely never happen due to cancer’s complexity, the researchers have developed a framework where they can learn more about the disease in the cases where the simulations don’t match.

“From my perspective, that’s the most interesting part,” concluded Dr. Kaern. “The most fascinating thing is to challenge existing knowledge represented in a mathematical model and try to understand why these models sometimes fail. It’s a very exciting opportunity to be a part of this, and I am glad that our efforts in training students in computational cell biology have resulted in such a significant advancement.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
New Database for Sharing MS Clinical Trial Data
A new database containing nearly 2500 patient records from the placebo arms of nine multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical trials is now available for research by qualified investigators.
‘Precision Prevention’ for Colorectal Cancer
New risk prediction model — not yet ready for clinical use — incorporates genetic, lifestyle and environmental risk factors.
Characterizing Cancerous Genomic Variations
Tested on large tumor genomics database, REVEALER method allows researchers to connect genomics to cell function.
Uncovering Hidden Genomic Alterations that Drive Cancers
Tested on large tumor genomics database, REVEALER method allows researchers to connect genomics to cell function.
Spotting DNA Repair Genes Gone Awry
Ludwig researchers develop a two-pronged approach for identifying genes responsible for fixing DNA damage that can trigger cancer when compromised.
Interpreting “Dark Matter” DNA
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have invented a new way to read and interpret the human genome.
A Programming Language for Living Cells
New language lets researchers design novel biological circuits.
The Epigenetics of Childhood Cancer
Qlucore software enables researchers to more easily study the genetic influences behind childhood cancer.
Mining Whole Exome Data to Improve Cancer Therapies
New tool interprets the raw data of whole exome tumor sequencing and then matches the cancer’s unique genetics to FDA-approved targeted treatments.
Pittcon 2016: Accelerating Innovation And Enhancing Productivity With Technology
Collaboration and externalization of data highlight evolving lab operations.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!