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  • What makes Cancer

  • Cancer?

  • Every cell in your body is controlled by a network of molecules that coordinate all of

  • the cell's basic functions.

  • This network maintains a steady pattern of signals that can respond to changes in the

  • environment.

  • Cancer works by hijacking this network, forcing it to focus on one thing: growth.

  • A cell with cancer will keep dividing under any circumstanceswell beyond the point

  • when a healthy cell would self-destruct.

  • That's what makes cancer so hard to treat: they are your own body's cells, but reprogrammed

  • to multiply without limits.

  • The first drugs that were developed to treat cancer were aimed at this growth behavior.

  • Cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs wipe out any cells that multiply too quickly, often by

  • interfering with the DNA-copying machinery of the cell.

  • That's also why traditional therapies come with so many negative side effects.

  • An alternate approach is to use targeted drug therapies.

  • Targeted therapies knock out individual proteins in the hijacked network that causes the uncontrolled

  • growth.

  • But, while shutting down a single protein in the signalling network might work for a

  • time, cancer cells can adapt, causing patients to relapse.

  • One way to defeat cancer's cleverness is to target several proteins at the same time

  • that's where drug combinations, orcocktails,” come in.

  • With two, three, or several drugs all targeting different parts of the network, the potential

  • for effective treatment is greater.

  • Even better, these treatments can be tailored to individual patients.

  • Because of the complexity of the network, two people with the same diagnosis can respond

  • differently to the same combination of drugs.

  • This is where personalized medicine can help.

  • But how do we find the most effective drug combinations for each person?

  • For each new drug developed, the number of possible combinations increases exponentially--resulting

  • in millions of possible treatments.

  • It would be practically impossible to experimentally find the right combination for each individual

  • patient.

  • Instead, our lab is trying to move that trial and error process from the lab to the computer.

  • By simulating the cell signalling network and the effects that the drugs have on cancer

  • cells, we can rewrite the network as a system of mathematical rules,

  • and use it to see what happens when multiple drugs interact.

  • This way, we can try out many, many drug combinations in a virtual environment, and test only the

  • most effective ones in the lab.

  • The idea is to move away from guesswork, and apply an engineering mindset to the problem.

  • It's the right combination to discover tomorrow's anti-cancer therapy.

What makes Cancer

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B1 US cancer network drug lab effective multiply

Can computers help cure Cancer?

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    OolongCha posted on 2020/08/11
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