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International Conference on Mathematical Biology and

Annual Meeting of The Society for Mathematical Biology,

July 27-30, 2009

University of British Columbia, Vancouver



David Basanta
Moffitt Cancer Center
Title Games that tumour cells play: using game theory to study the different paths of tumour progression
Abstract Cancer is often viewed, not as a single disease, but as collection of diseases with more differences than similarities. One unifying theme in all cancers is that it is subject to evolutionary dynamics that determine, among other things, whether it will progress towards malignancy. The root of this evolution is the heterogeneity of cellular and microenvironmental elements in and around a tumour. Cells, tumourous or otherwise, interact which other in different ways, altering the adaptative landscape and selecting for and against specific cellular traits and phenotypes. Thus, the emergence of a new cell phenotype, a common event during tumour progression, impacts the fitness of each of the preexisting phenotypes as well as the overall fitness of the tumour. The complexity of these interactions, their impact on phenotypic evolution and the fitness of the tumour cell population can be characterised and studied using evolutionary game theory. In this talk, the role of cancer as a complex system and the idea that tumour cells are part of a larger tumour ecosystem that also includes non-tumour cells, will be discussed. I will also show a few models in which evolutionary game theory is used to explain the emergence of phenotypes as a result of comensalism, the influence of space in explaining that behaviour and how these model can be leveraged to improve current anti-cancer therapies.
LocationWoodward G57/59