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Cellular decision on the computer
Date:7/14/2008

and mathematician Professor Roland Eils have investigated what makes human skin cells migrate into a wound to make it heal. They showed that the cells take several steps to decide to "start moving", how fast to do so, where to go and when to stop again. For the process to start, various external signals have to be received in a particular order. The scientists subsequently simulated this process on the computer. In doing so, they succeeded in predicting the molecular targets by which a cell's behavior can be changed in a particular direction.

Metastasizing cancer cells, too, migrate through the body though in their case, it is undesired. They decide to migrate even when normal cells would not move. Using the new simulation method developed by the DKFZ researchers, it is possible to simulate how the genes involved in this process interact and, thus, find out the molecular targets and the order in which they need to be hit so that tumor cells stop migrating. Therefore, the method is relevant not only for basic medical research, but also forges new paths in cancer medicine.

H. Busch et al. Gene network dynamics controlling keratinocyte migration. DOI:10.1038/msb.2008.36 The task of the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum in Heidelberg (German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ) is to systematically investigate the mechanisms of cancer development and to identify cancer risk factors. The results of this basic research are expected to lead to new approaches in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Center is financed to 90 percent by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and to 10 percent by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers (Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren e.V.).


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Contact: Dr. Stefanie Seltmann
s.seltmann@dkfz.de
49-622-142-2854
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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