A mathematical study describes how metastasis starts

January 18, 2021

A scientific study carried out by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) has produced a mathematical description of the way in which a tumor invades the epithelial cells and automatically quantifies the progression of the tumor and the remaining cell islands after its progression. The model developed by these researchers could be used to better understand the biophysical characteristics of the cells involved when developing new treatments for wound healing, organ regeneration, or cancer progression.

This research analyses the collective movement of cells in tissues, a process that, in addition to being essential in pathological developments, such as tumor invasion and metastasis, plays a central role in physiological processes, such as wound healing, embryonic development or tissue reconstruction, for example. In order to unravel the complexity of these processes, some previous scientific studies have carried out various experiments that seek to ascertain the role of certain chemical, mechanical and biological factors.

In this work, published in PLoS Computational Biology, researchers from the UC3M and UCM have now used a combination of mathematical modelling, numerical simulations and a topological analysis of data extracted from simulations and experiments in order to understand how cancer cells invade healthy cells. "A simplification of the early stages of cancerous metastasis is that tumor cells move as a collective and displace a group of normal cells in healthy tissue," explain the paper's authors, Luis L. Bonilla and Carolina Trenado, from the UC3M Department of Mathematics, and Ana Carpio, from the UCM Department of Applied Mathematics.

"By selecting the right cell groups and using an appropriate software and cellular dynamics, we have been able to simulate the way in which cancerous cells invade healthy tissue," the scientists note. In order to carry out this simulation, they have used data from previous experiments and a Voronoi diagram (named after the Russian mathematician Gregory Voronoi) to conduct an irregular tessellation in which cells are polygons that do not overlap and have no spaces between them. In the model, the centers of cells are subject to forces of a different origin, the researchers explain, some maintain tessellation and optimize the area and perimeter, others are inertial forces of biological origin, and there are active forces aligning the speeds of neighboring cells, as well as friction and noise.

In order to automatically track the progression of the barrier or boundary between cancerous and normal cells, researchers have used topological data analysis techniques, which are being used for the first time in this type of study. "Based on a series of successive images from experiments, as well as numerical simulations, topological changes in the interfaces have been grouped, plotted, and classified automatically as the cancer cells progress," note the scientists.

The techniques developed within the framework of this study can be scaled up to a larger volume of data, if these studies were to be carried out on a larger scale. In addition to this, these same techniques may be relevant in the field of tissue bioengineering to study how the biophysical characteristics of different materials affect organ and tissue regeneration.
-end-


Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Related Wound Healing Articles from Brightsurf:

Wound-healing biomaterials activate immune system for stronger skin
Researchers at Duke University and the University of California, Los Angeles, have developed a biomaterial that significantly reduces scar formation after a wound, leading to more effective skin healing.

'What wound did ever heal but by degrees?' delayed wound healing due to gene mutations
Scientists at Fujita Health University, Japan, have discovered how deficiencies of the IL-36Ra protein -- caused by mutations in the IL36RN gene -- delay wound healing via the flooding of the wound with several types of immune cells.

Wound-healing waves
How do cells in our bodies ask for directions? Without any maps to guide them, they still know where to go to heal wounds and renew our bodies.

A new approach to understanding the biology of wound healing
Researchers use discarded wound dressings as a novel and non-invasive way to study the mechanisms that promote healing.

New insights into wound healing
Research from a multidisciplinary team led by Washington University may provide new insights into wound healing, scarring and how cancer spreads

Towards improved wound healing -- Chemical synthesis of a trefoil factor peptide
The family of trefoil factor peptides brings hope to both research and industry to improve the treatment of chronic disorders.

Researchers say genetics may determine wound infection and healing
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have determined that genetics may play a role in how wounds heal.

Researchers develop microscopy technique for noninvasive evaluation of wound healing
The GSK Center for Optical Molecular Imaging at the University of Illinois' Beckman Institute has designed a new microscopy technique that can be used to study the progression of wound healing.

How tissues harm themselves during wound healing
Researchers from Osaka University discovered that increased expression of Rbm7 in apoptotic tissue cells results in the recruitment of segregated-nucleus-containing atypical monocytes, leading to tissue fibrosis.

Linking wound healing and cancer risk
When our skin is damaged, a whole set of biological processes springs into action to heal the wound.

Read More: Wound Healing News and Wound Healing Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.