Researchers at the University of Basel and the University of East Anglia were able to predict the interactions of cancer cells using game theory. Their results have been published by the scientific journal PNAS.
A tumor consists of a heterogeneous population of individual cells that compete for space and nutrients against each other. However, cancer cells also cooperate in their struggle for survival by sharing molecules, such as growth factors.
Cells that do not produce growth factors themselves have a proliferation advantage because they can use the factors produced by neighboring cells without the cost of producing them. What maintains this cooperation between tumor cells remains an open question and continues to obstruct medical therapies that target tumor growth.
Free riding cancer cells
The Public Goods Game is part of game theory and is used in economics as a model to analyze the provision of common goods. There is an imbalance in the consumption of these goods between those that provide them and pay the production costs and those that do not pay but consume anyway - a situation that is known in economics as the free rider problem.
The researchers now applied this model to the cooperation between producing and non-producing members of a cancer cell population, in order to examine if the model is also applicable to biological processes, such as carcinogenesis.
Using computer simulations, the researchers were able to calculate the long-term equilibrium between producing cells and “free riding” cells. They then used experiments with pancreatic cancer cells to test their calculations. Their results were in line with the predictions of the game theory model.
“Besides the finding that biological processes can be predicted by using computer simulations, our results suggest that further work on the 'social' interactions among cancer cells may reveal further insight into the dynamics of cancer, and hopefully guide research toward evolutionary stable therapies”, says Gerhard Christofori, Professor at the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Basel.
Marco Archetti, Daniela A. Ferraro, Gerhard Christofori
Heterogeneity for IGF-II production maintained by public goods dynamics in neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer
PNAS | doi: 10.1073/pnas.1414653112
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Christofori, Department of Biomedicine,University of Basel, phone: +41 61 267 35 62, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines
20.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik
Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees
20.11.2018 | Universität Leipzig
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy