Navigation Links
Physics, Math Provide Clues to Unraveling Cancer
Date:1/30/2009

U-M researchers use mathematical modeling to bring new understanding to cancer biology

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Biology exists in a physical world. That's a fact cancer researchers are beginning to recognize as they look to include concepts of physics and mathematics in their efforts to understand how cancer develops -- and how to stop it.

The movement, led by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, has come to a head with a new section in one of the top cancer research journals and a new grant program from the National Cancer Institute.

Traditional cancer biology involves taking a sample of cells and holding them in time so they can be studied. Then the researchers look at that slice of cells to understand what signals and pathways are involved. But that doesn't capture the full picture, says Sofia Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Breast Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"The living cell is really a dynamic process. We need to consider the properties of physics to help us understand these data. In order to develop a drug directed against a given molecule that has real hope of treating cancer, we need to understand how that molecule is sitting in the cell, interacting with other molecules," says Merajver, professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Merajver and her team have developed a sophisticated mathematical model to help researchers apply these concepts to cancer. The mathematical model is designed to help give researchers a complete picture of how a cell interacts with its surrounding environment. By understanding the full complexity of signaling pathways, researchers can better target treatments and identify the most promising potential new drugs.

Researchers have learned from this modeling that a well-known and major type of signaling pathway naturally transmits information not just in a forward direction, but also backwards. That implies new considerations for developing drugs to inhibit major growth and metastasis pathways in cancer.

This crosstalk was missed by conventional methods. Typically, when scientists begin to look at a cell, they must make assumptions to simplify the picture of what is happening in cells.

"When you make simplifying assumptions, you always run the risk of eliminating critical aspects of your system, but you have no way of knowing what was discarded. When you simplify, you don't know exactly what you're throwing away because you never looked at the complex case," Merajver says. Mathematical modeling allows researchers to look at the complex case more thoroughly.

"To understand how the laws of physics can be applied to biological systems is a new frontier," she says.

Merajver and her colleagues were successful in getting the journal Cancer Research to add a new regular section to the twice-monthly journal precisely focused on mathematical modeling. The journal has also added new editors to its board who have expertise in this discipline. Merajver and Trachette Jackson, Ph.D., professor of mathematics at U-M, will lead this effort as senior editors.

A review article about mathematical modeling appears in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer Research, authored by Merajver, Jackson and Alejandra Ventura, Ph.D., a senior postdoctoral fellow in internal medicine at U-M.

Funding for this work is primarily from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Reference: Cancer Research, Vol. 69, No. 2, pp. 400-402

Resources:

U-M Cancer AnswerLine, 800-865-1125

U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, www.mcancer.org


'/>"/>
SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Phyhealth Provides Update to Shareholders
2. Worm provides clues about preventing damage caused by low-oxygen during stroke, heart attack
3. RediClinic Locations in Austin Added as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Network Providers
4. MinuteClinic Becomes Participating Provider With Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
5. National Institutes of Health Expands Use of Emergency Notification Services Provided by Send Word Now(TM) Across NIH Campus
6. Young Innovations, Inc. Provides Fourth Quarter Conference Call Details
7. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Partners with Community Providers to Offer Low-Cost BlueSelect Health Plan for Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
8. Collaborative Medicine Soon a Reality for Providers in Southeastern Idaho
9. PWeR(TM) Platform Available to Increase Provider Reimbursements From Medicare
10. Triessent(R) Becomes HCSCs Specialty Pharmacy Provider
11. NutraCea, FedEx and Feed The Children Team Up to Provide Food Aid to Families in Need in Brazil
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... , ... TherapySites, the leading website and online ... Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to continue to extend their ... benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited about this new partnership, ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, ... the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where ... city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar ... M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal ... complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex set of ... or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and suffering, Serenity ... event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from depression, guilt, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , , , WHEN: , , ... , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with free registration ... PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice President of ... Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such as innovative ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker listening ... industry leaders in advanced audiology and hearing aid technology, ... ™, the world,s first internet connected hearing aid that ...      (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382240 ) , ... ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ - the first ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, China, ... Canada)" report to their offering. ... essential tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical procedure ... at surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of growth ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: