Navigation Links
Game theory model reveals vulnerable moments for cancer cells' energy production
Date:7/15/2014

Cancer's no game, but researchers at Johns Hopkins are borrowing ideas from evolutionary game theory to learn how cells cooperate within a tumor to gather energy. Their experiments, they say, could identify the ideal time to disrupt metastatic cancer cell cooperation and make a tumor more vulnerable to anti-cancer drugs.

"The reality is that we still can't cure metastatic cancer that has spread from its primary organ and game theory adds to our efforts to attack the problem," says Kenneth J. Pienta, M.D., the Donald S. Coffey Professor of Urology at the Johns Hopkins Brady Urological Institute, and director of the Prostate Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. A description of the work appears in a June 20 report in the journal Interface Focus.

Game theory is a mathematical study of strategic decision-making, and has been widely used to predict conflict and cooperation between individuals and even nations, but increasingly is applied to forecasting cell-to-cell interactions in biology with an ecological perspective. Tumors contain a variety of cells shifting between cooperative-like to competitive-like states, said Ardeshir Kianercy, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Pienta's lab. "To study tumor cells in isolation is not enough," he noted. "It makes sense to study their behavior and relationship with other cells and how they co-evolve together."

In their research, the Johns Hopkins scientists used mathematical and computer tools to set up game parameters based on biological interactions between two types of tumor cells, one oxygen-rich and the other oxygen-poor. Cells within a tumor engage in different types of energy metabolism depending on how close they are to an oxygen-rich blood supply. Tumor cells in oxygen-poor areas use the sugar glucose to produce energy and, as part of the process, release a compound called lactate. Oxygen-rich cells use this lactate in a different type of energy metabolism process and, as a result, release glucose that can be used by oxygen-poor cells to burn for their own energy.

Generally, the process is an efficient partnership that can help a tumor thrive, but the partnership is always changing as the tumor cells mutate. The mutation rate influences the strength of the energy partnerships between the oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor cells and levels of glucose and lactate production and uptake, according to the scientists.

Applying game theory calculations that accounted for the tumor cells' mutation rates and potential glucose and lactate levels, the scientists found that within certain ranges of mutation rates, "there are critical transitions when a tumor suddenly switches between different types of energy metabolic strategies," Kianercy said. This switch in the playbook of energy production tactics may happen when tumors progress and spread.

The scientists think tumors might be especially vulnerable within this window of strategy-switching, making it a potentially ideal time for clinicians to disrupt the tumor's environment and wreck the partnership among its cells.

Some tumor cells, for instance, may provoke the normal cells around them to release lactate for fuel. A therapy that disrupts lactate transport to the tumor cells during a critical transition "could push a tumor to a condition where cells are not cooperating with each other," Kianercy explained. "And if they become non-cooperative, they are most likely to stay in that state and the tumor may become more vulnerable to anti-cancer therapies."

Pienta said it isn't clear yet whether this type of metabolic cooperation occurs in all tumors. But the game theory model used in the study gives scientists a new way to understand how cancers may progress. "We ultimately want to test how we can interrupt this process with therapies for cancer patients," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Vanessa Wasta
wasta@jhmi.edu
410-614-2916
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
2. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
3. Scientists uncover strong support for once-marginalized theory on Parkinsons disease
4. Research: Modern Portfolio Theory optimizes conservation practices
5. Information theory helps unravel DNAs genetic code
6. Study turns parasite invasion theory on its head
7. Birdsong study pecks theory that music is uniquely human
8. New dinosaur fossil challenges bird evolution theory
9. Researcher uncovers potential cause, biomarker for autism and proposes study to investigate theory
10. Theory of crystal formation complete again
11. Engineering control theory helps create dynamic brain models
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Game theory model reveals vulnerable moments for cancer cells' energy production
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus ... justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections ... the prisons involved, it has secured the final ... (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. ... additional facilities to be installed by October, 2016. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences ... detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting ... cells (CTCs). The new test has already been ... in multiple cancer types. Over 230 ... damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The ... is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: