Nav: Home

Brain cancer self-organizes into streams, swirls, and spheres

December 14, 2015

SAN DIEGO, CA--Commonly, we think of cancer as anarchy, a leaderless mob of deranged cells, storming through the body. Pedro Lowenstein, Maria Castro, and colleagues at the University of Michigan and Arizona State University think that cancer is highly organized--self-organized. In brain cancer, the Michigan and Arizona researchers report that glioma cells build tumors by self-organizing into streams,10-20 cells wide, that obey a mathematically predicted pattern for autonomous agents flowing together. These streams drag along slower gliomas, may block entry of immune cells, and swirl around a central axis containing glioma stem cells that feed the tumor's growth. The researchers will present their new work on tumor self-organization on Monday, December 14 at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Diego, CA.

Lowenstein and Motsch mapped out this dynamic picture of glioma self-organization by building and comparing two model systems, one biological and one mathematical. The living model system was built in vivo using mouse and human glioma cells genetically tailored to express a deadly package of genes known to spur development and progression of brain tumors. The observed movement, distribution, and invasive nature of the resulting streams of elliptically shaped glioma cells were predicted by their mathematical model, they report. Assuming that the glioma cells were independent agents, the mathematical model took into account adhesion and repulsion dynamics between tumor cells. The results showed unmistakable signs of non-random, self-organization of brain tumors, say Lowenstein and Motsch.

Most striking, the presence of self-organizing structures was not related to any specific cancer mutation. These swirls eddied around cores of glioma stem cells that Lowenstein and Motsch describe as possible nucleating centers for brain tumor growth. The in vivo model also produced glioma cells organized as individual spheres, including some that slipped out of the tumor and set themselves adrift in the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain's ventricles, and may mediate tumor dispersion throughout the brain.

All this evident self-organization opens an exciting novel insight into brain cancer, say Lowenstein and Motsch, and makes disrupting tumor self-organization itself a new target for brain cancer treatment.
-end-
Streams, swirls, and neurospheres: in vivo self-organization of brain tumors revealed by mathematical and biological modeling
P.R. Lowenstein1,2, S. Motsch3, V.A. Yadav1, D. Zamler1, C. Koschmann1, F. Nunez?Aguilera1, A. Calinescu1, N. Kamran1, M. Dzaman1, M.G. Castro1,2
1Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Contact author: Pedro Lowenstein
pedrol@umich.edu

At ASCB 2015

Author presents:
Poster Session:Tumor Invasion and Metastasis 2
Monday, December 14
1:30-3:00 pm
P1079
Board Number: B714
ASCB Learning Center

Media contact: John Fleischman, jfleischman@ascb.org, 513-706-0212

American Society for Cell Biology

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.