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The Cancer Equation?

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Can cancer be boiled down to a mathematical equation? That's the question researchers at Ohio State University are trying to answer. Scientists there designed a mathematical model that one day could be used to help clinicians make treatment decisions for patients with advanced prostate cancer, a university press release says. The model, which was published in PNAS this week, is currently theoretical, but the researchers were able to show that incorporating personalized data from patients — such as details about individual tumor cell characteristics — gives doctors a better idea of what they're dealing with when they make treatment decisions, OSU says, adding, "the researchers have selected parameters to plug into the equations that more specifically detail what could be going on in an individual tumor: cancer cell growth rates, cancer cell death rates, the level of activation of PSA in tumor cells, and how quickly one person's PSA can travel from the prostate to the bloodstream."

The researchers also took into account the strengths of different cancer cells and how they compete with each other to affect the growth and development of a tumor. They are now working to refine the model, OSU says, by adding information on the vasculature of prostate tumors, which can indicate how persistent a cancer will be.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.