Can computer models based on fundamental laws assist the treatment for cancers?
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Over the last decade, scientists have been intensely investigating on TRAIL, a protein released by our immune system, to treat malignant cancers. The benefit of using TRAIL, as compared to conventional chemo- or radio- therapies, is that it specifically destroys carcinomas without affecting the surrounding normal tissues. This is done through a mechanism known as the programmed cell death or apoptosis. However, the TRAIL-based treatments so far have not been overtly successful as many carcinomas are able to ‘cheat’ the death signal, triggered by the TRAIL, into a survival signal.
A team of scientists from the Keio University in Japan has formulated a method using a computational model and, with its aid, predicts a novel target that would in return cheat the cancer cells to switch from survival to apoptosis mode. The work of Dr. Kumar Selvarajoo and colleagues, utilizing the fundamental physical law of conservation, pinpoints an intracellular target, whose removal reroutes most of the resultant signaling flux of TRAIL into a predetermined direction along the caspases-induced death pathway. Their findings are published in Scientific Reports, a newly launched journal of the Nature Publishing Group.
Paper: Vincent Piras, Kentaro Hayashi, Masaru Tomita, and Kumar Selvarajoo. "Enhancing apoptosis in TRAIL-resistant cancer cells using fundamental response rules", Scientific Reports, November 07, 2011. click here for link.
Dr. Kumar Selvarajoo
Dr. Mariko Okada
Professor Janet Oliver
Professor Alfredo Colosimo
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