Math can predict how cancer cells evolve

January 16, 2018, University of Waterloo
Cancer cells. Credit: Dr. Cecil Fox, National Cancer Institute

Applied mathematics can be a powerful tool in helping predict the genesis and evolution of different types of cancers, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.

The study used a form of mathematical analysis called to look at how malignant mutations evolve in both stem and non-stem cells in colorectal and intestinal cancers.

"Using applied math to map out the evolution of has the potential to give oncologists a kind of road map to track the progression of a particular cancer and essentially captures crucial details of the evolution of the disease." said Mohammad Kohandel, an associate professor of applied at Waterloo. "Combining the use of applied math with previous research advances in cancer biology, can contribute to a much deeper understanding of this disease on several fronts."

The study found when cancer stem cells divide and replicate, the new cells that are created can be substantially different from the original cell. This characteristic can have a substantial impact on the progression of cancer in both positive and negative ways and the use of can help better predict cell behaviour.

The study also concluded that this type of analysis may be useful in preventing the emergence of cancer cells, in addition to helping develop more intense and effective treatments.

"Being able to predict the of cancer cells could be crucial to tailoring treatments that will target them effectively," said Siv Sivaloganathan, a professor and chair of the department of applied mathematics, at Waterloo. "It may also help avoid the drug-induced resistance known to develop in many cancers.

"In addition to predicting the behaviour of cancer , this mathematical framework can also be applied more generally to other areas, including population genetics and ecology."

Sivaloganathan and Kohandel's study was recently published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Explore further: Team develops technology to find optimum drug target for cancer

Related Stories

Research discovers potential new Rx target for colon cancer

September 12, 2017

Genetic research conducted at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center demonstrated for the first time that a novel protein can cause normal cells in the lining of the colon to become malignant, ...

Recommended for you

Outside competition breeds more trust among coworkers

September 19, 2018

Working in a competitive industry fosters a greater level of trust amongst workers, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia, Princeton University and Aix-Marseille University, published today in Science ...

Oldest-known aquatic reptiles probably spent time on land

September 19, 2018

The oldest known aquatic reptiles, the mesosaurs, probably spent part of their life on land, reveals a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The fossilized bones of adult Mesosaurus share similarities ...

Research shows SE Asian population boom 4,000 years ago

September 19, 2018

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have uncovered a previously unconfirmed population boom across South East Asia that occurred 4,000 years ago, thanks to a new method for measuring prehistoric population ...

Searching for new bridge forms that can span further

September 19, 2018

Newly identified bridge forms could enable significantly longer bridge spans to be achieved in the future, potentially making a crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco, feasible.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.