Modeling the Tumor Micro-Environment: Infiltration of Immune Cells into Tumor Cells
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Introduction. In cancer, a strong immune response is crucial to a positive patient outcome. In fact, it has been shown that “time to [cancer] recurrence and overall survival time are governed in large part by the state of the local adaptive immune response.” Unfortunately, some tumors exhibit immunosuppressive behavior that makes the T-Cell immune response ineffective. One of the main culprits behind this is caused by “the exclusion of T-Cells from the vicinity of cancer cells…[The] cells of the [Tumor Micro-Environment] (TME) mediate this restriction.” The aim of our study is to explore the cause of, and to suppress this exclusion of T-Cells from tumors, in order to maximize T-Cell infiltration of a tumor. Hypothesis. As a remedy, I searched for a possible way to suppress this ligation. In a paper regarding the immune system in HIV patients, mi-RNA 146 was shown to suppress ligation of CXCL12 and CXCR4. Conclusion. The future possibilities of my theoretical and real-world model are far and wide. The theoretical model allows for making mathematical predictions regarding concentrations and locations of cell types as they interact with each other. As new variables are added, the effect is able to be forecasted based on the amount and location of entry of the new variable. Using image analysis, we now have a way to locate exact locations of the border of a tumor and quantitatively confirm or reject potential treatments for future use. This project was completed with contributions from Xuefel Li and Herbert Levine from the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, Rice University.