Breaking News
February 21, 2019 - Gaming system helps with autism diagnosis
February 21, 2019 - Heart Disease: Six Things Women Should Know
February 21, 2019 - More States Say Doctors Must Offer Overdose Reversal Drug Along With Opioids
February 21, 2019 - Researchers explore case studies focused on industries that kill more people than employed
February 21, 2019 - Intense exercise, fasting and hormones can enhance waste-protein removal, study shows
February 21, 2019 - Scientists can monitor brain activity to predict epileptic seizures few minutes in advance
February 21, 2019 - Study quantifies hepatic and intestinal mRNA expression of Ugt isoforms in rats
February 21, 2019 - ‘Apple-Shaped’ Body? ‘Pear-Shaped’? Your Genes May Tell
February 21, 2019 - Can we repair the brain? The promise of stem cell technologies for treating Parkinson’s disease
February 21, 2019 - Trump Plan To Beat HIV Hits Rough Road In Rural America
February 21, 2019 - PENTAX Medical introduces new electrosurgical and argon plasma coagulation platforms
February 21, 2019 - Trump plan to beat HIV hits rough road in rural America
February 21, 2019 - Eating blueberries every day could help decrease blood pressure
February 21, 2019 - ‘No Second Chances’ report calls for new measures to combat cardiovascular disease in Australia
February 21, 2019 - Mayo clinic researchers discuss local case studies of leprosy
February 21, 2019 - Scientists demonstrate key role of salt in allergic immune reactions
February 21, 2019 - Experts propose revising the criteria for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease
February 21, 2019 - The med student and the machine
February 21, 2019 - Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Is Striking For School Nurses The Way To Go?
February 21, 2019 - Latest research encourages children to move out and learn through physical activity
February 21, 2019 - Proper oral hygiene and regular visits to dentist can promote heart health
February 21, 2019 - New, versatile technique for remote control of transplanted cells in Parkinson’s
February 21, 2019 - Why melanoma tumors in the brain may be worse?
February 21, 2019 - New project aims to improve lung disease care in Appalachia
February 21, 2019 - Drug increases melanin production in some people with albinism
February 21, 2019 - Over 1 in 3 adults miss the mark on protein, finds study
February 21, 2019 - CymaBay Therapeutics Announces Seladelpar Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for the Treatment of Primary Biliary Cholangitis
February 21, 2019 - A correlation between obesity and income has only developed in the past 30 years
February 21, 2019 - Baby, then work: An effort to help resident-parents in emergency medicine
February 21, 2019 - Heavy cigarette smoking could damage vision, say researchers
February 21, 2019 - Some drug combinations may be more effective than others for schizophrenic patients
February 21, 2019 - Combination of common antibiotics can eliminate multi-drug resistant E. coli
February 21, 2019 - Number of calls to U.S. Poison Control regarding kratom exposure increased
February 21, 2019 - New computational tool searches for factors that cause specific diseases
February 21, 2019 - New method to assess effectiveness of psychotherapies for social anxiety disorder
February 21, 2019 - New technology measures hormones that influence reproductive health efficiently
February 21, 2019 - Bat influenza viruses could potentially attack the cells of humans and livestock
February 21, 2019 - Immunotherapeutic antibody therapy to kill cancer has now progressed to patient testing
February 21, 2019 - Johns Hopkins scientists find new compound that may prevent reperfusion injury
February 21, 2019 - Researchers develop new way to deliver treatment for cartilage regeneration
February 21, 2019 - Study sheds new light on left ventricular dysfunction in ischemic heart disease
February 21, 2019 - New technique could expedite cancer diagnosis, lead to better patient outcomes
February 21, 2019 - New map of infant brain may aid early diagnosis of autism
February 21, 2019 - Human consciousness depends on the brain’s ability to maintain dynamics of neural activity
February 21, 2019 - Harmony Biosciences Announces File Acceptance Of Its New Drug Application For Pitolisant
February 21, 2019 - Medications could fill treatment gap for adolescents with obesity
February 21, 2019 - New antibiotics are desperately needed: Machine learning could help | News Center
February 21, 2019 - Researchers develop new computer game for dementia carers
February 21, 2019 - University of Dundee partners with Takeda to develop new treatments for tau pathology
February 21, 2019 - Influenza vaccine may be less effective in elderly patients, finds study
February 21, 2019 - Researchers explain why T cells lose their protective ability in inflamed tissues
February 21, 2019 - New optimization method rapidly analyzes nanomedicines for cancer treatment
February 21, 2019 - Viruses in the intestinal tracts can lead to islet autoimmunity and Type 1 diabetes
February 21, 2019 - Link between dietary fatty acid intake and hypertension found to be influenced by diabetes status
February 21, 2019 - FDA Approves Esperoct (turoctocog alfa pegol, N8-GP) for Hemophilia A
February 21, 2019 - ‘Boy erased’—why conversion therapies and ex-gay ministries should be outlawed
February 21, 2019 - Titia de Lange to give annual McCormick Lecture on March 8 | News Center
February 21, 2019 - Study reveals how helper T cells support memory cells to function optimally
February 21, 2019 - Autistic children with co-occurring ADHD have greater adaptive behavior impairments
February 21, 2019 - Elevated levels of key cellular process implicated in intestinal inflammation and IBD
February 20, 2019 - Over Half of Hip Replacements Expected to Last 25 Years
February 20, 2019 - Microscopic eye movements affect how we see contrast
February 20, 2019 - Computer vs. patient: Fighting for residents’ attention | News Center
February 20, 2019 - New “Smart Drug” Shows Promise for Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
February 20, 2019 - Researchers develop large-scale window material for high-efficiency PM2.5 capture
February 20, 2019 - Widespread confusion among consumers on food date labels lead to unnecessary discards
February 20, 2019 - Researchers unlock plant’s secret of producing specialized metabolites
February 20, 2019 - Newly released national framework identifies obstacles to improving EMS systems
February 20, 2019 - Exercise can shift human body clock depending on time when people work out
February 20, 2019 - Female adolescent blood donors more likely to have iron deficiency and related anemia
February 20, 2019 - Rubicon level linked to inhibition of autophagic process
February 20, 2019 - Researchers find potential therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimer’s
February 20, 2019 - New forms of older anti-cancer agent appear to enhance immune response to fight melanoma
February 20, 2019 - Health Tip: Eat Less Saturated Fat
February 20, 2019 - Sleeping in contact lenses puts you at risk of dangerous infection
February 20, 2019 - “We should study that!”: How a nurse-scientist found her passion
February 20, 2019 - Cervical microbiome may influence HPV infection more than previously thought
February 20, 2019 - Sausage mislabeling in Canada is down, new study finds
February 20, 2019 - Study shows blood pressure benefits of morning exercise for older overweight/obese adults
February 20, 2019 - New screening method could catch organ rejection much earlier without a biopsy needle
Fractals can help describe how cancer spreads in the body and the right tools to stop it

Fractals can help describe how cancer spreads in the body and the right tools to stop it

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

What can seashells, lightning and the coastline of Britain teach us about new drugs for cancer?

The answer, according to a team of researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, may revolve around fractals, the infinitely complex patterns found in nature.

Trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, snowflakes and hurricanes are all displaying or obeying fractal rules. A fractal description of many things is a story about how they grow.

In this case, fractals can also help describe how the control of insulin expression signals blood glucose regulation or how something as duplicitous as cancer spreads in the body and the right tools to stop it.

Conventional math cannot adequately model the interaction of multiple genes over multiple time frames – a necessary foundation for any cancer-fighting drugs. The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology by Mahboobeh Ghorbani, Edmond Jonckheere and Paul Bogdan of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, is the first study that accounts for the memory, cross-dependence and fractality of gene expression.

Gene expression is a tightly regulated process that allows a cell to respond to its changing environment. It enables information stored in our DNA to flow within a complex biological system. Without gene expression, a cell would not exist.

Unfortunately, according to Ghorbani, a Ph.D. candidate in Bogdan’s Cyber Physical Systems Group: “Existing models are based on nonlinear equations that can tells us which gene is responsible for a particular disease but not how these genes interact.”

“The problem with existing models is that they only see part of the network.”

The researchers laid the initial groundwork by spelling out the basic characteristics for these yet-to-be-developed mathematical tools. Ghorbani developed the software to examine and predict gene-to-gene interactions in two living bacteria: E. coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s yeast.

Their findings demonstrate not only that there is memory in gene expression but also that gene expression displays fractal and long-range cross-dependence characteristics within the interactions among genes.

If the world appears as a fractal, constantly changing in a predictable pattern, it is most likely because many objects in nature have fractal structure (e.g. through power laws). Also, co-dependence can explain how two cancer cells work together in one set but kill each other in another. Or, how scientists can engineer tumor cells to kill their own kind. Memory allows us to look at DNA as a program – a set of instructions that constantly check with each other. In other words, nothing in our DNA programming is random.

“Current mathematical models that exist on gene regulatory networks, do not satisfy these functions,” said Bogdan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering-systems.

“Investigating the dynamics of gene expression enables us to understand the mechanisms and patterns that drive biological organisms,” Ghorbani said. “This knowledge helps us from both scientific and engineering perspectives because we can exploit it to detect an anomaly or disease. Then, we can engineer cells to perform specific tasks such as drug delivery for cancer treatment.”

When scientists design a therapy for a particular disease, they can’t just take into account one particular gene behavior at one time, but how it interacts with other genes over multiple timescales. Otherwise they end up treating only a localized defect.

“We end up saying: ‘we developed a drug to fight this cancer, but then cancer found another way,'” said Bogdan, citing examples in which a patient receives treatment for one type of cancer, but develops another type of cancer later on.

“And not because the cancer cells have migrated or that cancer outsmarted us somehow,” he said. “It is smart if we don’t ask the right question with the right tool.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles