University of Bonn mathematicians and physicians have developed a new model for immunotherapy of cancer. The method could help to develop new treatment strategies and to understand why some approaches do not work with certain tumours.
One of the greatest problems in the fight against cancer is the great hardiness of the tumours, says the study published by technical journal 'Scientific Reports'.
Drug therapy often leads to initial success, which is then wiped out by a relapse. Sometimes the therapy has no affect at all against some cancer cells. Other cells develop resistance over the course of therapy.
Certain cells of the immune system, the so-called T-cells, can fight malignant tumours. Such cells are used or activated in a targeted manner to treat cancers.
The research groups of Prof. Dr. Thomas Tuting and Prof. Dr. Michael Holzel or the University of Bonn have demonstrated in their experiments on skin cancer that tumour cells can change their external appearance, if an inflammatory reaction occurs in the course of treatment.
Consequently, the T-cells no longer recognize them as harmful, and the cancer can continue to spread unimpeded.
A new model from mathematicians and physicians from the Excellence Cluster of the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and ImmunoSensation of the University of Bonn now describes this effect mathematically, thus making it possible to analyse it.
In the future, the model could be used, among other things, for computer simulation of various therapeutic approaches and thus for the development of optimal treatment strategies.