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Some natural patterns can help find out how cancer spreads

Posted 07.12.2018 13:00:34CET


Certain patterns found in natural elements such as trees, rivers, coasts, mountains, clouds, snowflakes and hurricanes show or observe fractal rules. The fractal description of many things is a story about how they grow up, according to a team of researchers at the Viterbi Engineering School at the University of Southern California (USC, abbreviated in English).

In this case, fractal patterns can also help to describe how insulin expression control signals blood glucose regulation or how cancer spreads in the body and the appropriate tools to stop it.

Conventional mathematics can not adequately model the interaction of several genes in different time frames, which is a necessary basis for any anticancer drug. The study, published in the books "Frontiers in Physiology" by Mahboobeh Ghorbani, Edmond Jonckheere and Paul Bogdan of the Electrical Engineering Department of Ming Hsieh, is the first to explain memory, cross-dependence and fractal expression of genes.

Genetic expression is a regulated process that allows a cell to respond to a changing environment. It also allows information stored in DNA to flow within a complex biological system. Without gene expression, the cell would not exist.

Unfortunately, according to Ghorbani, existing models "are based on non-linear equations," which indicate which gene "is responsible for a particular disease but not how these genes interact." Therefore, "the problem with existing models is that they only see part of the network," he explains.

Researchers have set up the basics that describe in detail the basic characteristics of these mathematical tools to be developed. Ghorbani has developed software to investigate and predict gen-na-gene interactions in two live bacteria, E. coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Their findings show that there is not only memory in gene expression but also that gene expression exhibits fractal characteristics and cross-dependence on long-distance interactions between genes.

If the world appears to be a fractal, constantly changing into a predictable pattern, it is very likely that many natural objects have a fractal structure. In addition, a common dependency can explain how two cancer cells work together in one set, but kill each other in another. Or how scientists can suggest tumor cells to kill their species. Memory allows you to see DNA as a program, a set of instructions that are constantly verifying each other.

Exploring the dynamics of gene expression "allows us to understand the mechanisms and patterns that drive the biological organisms," says Ghorbani. This knowledge helps both from a scientific point of view and from engineering, because "it can be used to detect an anomaly or disease". You can then "design cells to perform specific tasks such as administering drugs to treat cancer," says the expert.

When scientists propose to treat a particular disease, they can not take into account the only genetic behavior, but how it interacts with other genes in more time. Otherwise, only one localized malfunction will end.

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