Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An intelligent combination of mathematics and cell biology could spell death to brain tumours

23.01.2002


Combining two separate observations of cells in brain tumours could enable doctors to improve the success rate of radiotherapy. Speaking today (23 January) at the Institute of Physics Simulation and Modelling Applied to Medicine conference in London, chemical engineer Dr Norman Kirkby from the University of Surrey will explain how using the correct time intervals between a sequence of low dose radiotherapy sessions could increase the chance of curing brain cancers that tend to resist treatment.



The work started with the discovery that there is a class of brain cancers (gliomas) that are susceptible to low doses of radiation, but can resist high doses. These cancers can occur in children as well as adults. They are difficult to treat because they do not form solid lumps that can be removed by surgery. Instead they spread in a diffuse manner through the brain.

The question was, would it be possible to find a way of getting the most benefit from giving multiple sessions of low-dose therapy? A team of chemical engineers, cell biologists and clinicians, drawn from the University of Surrey, Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and The Gray Cancer Institute at Mount Vernon Hospital in Middlesex, came together to see if they could make some accurate predictions.


Kirkby and colleagues built a mathematical model that described the biology of cancer, and the effect that radiation has on it. Tumours grow when a number of cells multiply. For this to occur, cells take part in a cycle of activity, in which they first produce new copies of the genetic information, then check that the copies have no errors, before finally splitting the cell into two. During the checking phase of the cell cycle they also repair any errors in the genetic code.

Radiotherapy works by damaging each cell’s DNA. But if the therapy is given when cells are in the repair phase of their cycle, they will simply sort out the damage and carry on growing.

The new mathematical model is enabling the team to calculate the best time intervals to leave between doses of radiation, so that the maximum number of cells are caught at a time when they can’t repair the damage. It suggests that a patient should receive small doses at fairly precise times, several times a day. This is new. Standard systems of treatment give larger doses with intervals of a few days.

“The model is convincing, but the challenge will be to find ways of fitting this treatment schedule into the diaries of a working radiotherapy department,” says cancer expert Dr Neil Burnet.

Team member Dr Susan Short hopes that giving low doses of treatment at optimum time intervals will mean that they can destroy the cancer cells in people’s brains without causing excessive damage to the normal brain tissue.



Liezel Tipper | alphagalileo

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>