Cancer researchers seek to predict tumor growth

CLEVELAND--University Hospitals of Cleveland and the Case Western Reserve University schools of medicine and engineering have launched a revolutionary investigation in cancer research as part of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) effort that challenges engineers and oncologists with the development of a systems biology approach to gain understanding and to unlock issues of the most complex cancer biology problems.

"Our objective is to develop a fully integrated team of technology systems scientists and cancer biologists that will target an area of increasing significance called 'mismatch repair defective malignancies," says Timothy J. Kinsella, M.D., the study's principal investigator in Cleveland, Professor and Vincent K. Smith Chair of Radiation Oncology at the Case School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland. "These malignant cells cause various cancers, so we are investigating two basic approaches for destroying these MMR defective cells."

This UHC/Case study, entitled "Complex Systems and Control of Mismatch Repair Deficient Cells," is part of a new nine-site, $14.9 million NCI project called the Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP). Each site will focus on different targets with one overarching mission: to gain valuable information about the progression of cancer through a systems-wide approach. A multi-disciplinary effort among all fields of cancer research will incorporate genomics, proteomics, and molecular imaging using system theoretic techniques to develop new models that can be used in-silico, that is, in or by means of computer simulation to better understand and predict the dynamics of the cancer process.

MMR defective cells cause hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), an inherited disorder, also called Lynch syndrome, that often leads to colon cancer and other types of cancer, most often in people in the 20 to 40-year age group. The disorder affects about 160,000 people in the United States, most of

Contact: George Stamatis
Case Western Reserve University

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