Cancer: A moving target

University of California, Irvine's Natalia Komarova responds to Waclaw et al's "A spatial model predicts that dispersal and cell turnover limit intratumour heterogeneity" in Nature News & Views:

An in silico, three-dimensional model of tumour evolution suggests that cell motility is a key factor in the initial growth of a tumour mass. The model also reveals the dynamics of mutation spread.

Evolutionary thinking is becoming an indispensable tool to understand cancer, and even to propose directions in the search for treatment strategies. In a paper on Nature's website, Waclaw et al.1 use mathematical modelling based on evolutionary principles to provide an explanation for the observed architecture of tumours, and to argue that cell migration might be the key to tumour shape, spread and drug resistance. This study opens up the possibility of treatments that target genes related to cell motility and adhesion, rather than the conventional targets of genes governing cell division, death and differentiation.

Click here for the full article on Nature's website.