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 Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>