In order to spread from the primary tumor to distant sites, cancer cells must undergo a coordinated change in their phenotypic properties referred to as the "epithelial-to-mesenchymal" transition. We have studied the nonlinear genetic circuits that are responsible for this cellular decision-making progress and propose that the transition actually goes through a series of intermediate states. At the same time, we have formulated motility models that allow for the correlation of state of this network and the cell's biophysical capabilities. Hopefully, these efforts will help us better understand the transition to metastatic disease and possible treatments thereof.
Herbert Levine is a theoretical physicist conducting research into the dynamical behavior of biological systems. He currently co-directs the NSF Physics Frontier Center on Theoretical Biological Physics, headquartered at Rice University. His recent interests have included eukaryotic cell motility (from the sensing to the network to the motor machinery), bacterial colony dynamics (and analogies thereof to the growth of malignant tumors), and the role of population size on Darwinian evolutionary dynamics.
Cite this work
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Physics, Room 203, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN