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 How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>