Animations of a Potential Treatment for Most cancers

This text is the third in a sequence on potential methods to make use of arithmetic to treatment or deal with most cancers, that started with Can Arithmetic Treatment Most cancers?. It presents the Bathtub Mechanism, a potential solution to kill cells with irregular numbers of chromosomes, a typical attribute of many most cancers cells, in better element and presents a number of animations of the mechanism.

Most cancers is the second main explanation for dying in the US. Over five-hundred thousand folks died from most cancers in 2007. If present traits proceed, about one in three of readers will die from most cancers.

Since 1971 the US has spent about $200 billion on analysis into most cancers. The Nationwide Most cancers Institute has an annual funds of over $5 billion. That is corresponding to the Manhattan Undertaking that invented the atomic bomb and the primary nuclear reactors continued for forty years. The outcomes have clearly been fairly disappointing. Is there a solution to get higher outcomes from the various years of exhausting work, billions of {dollars}, and mountains of data collected? Are there methods to use right now’s highly effective computer systems and arithmetic to defeat this illness?

Most cancers is now regarded as brought on by mutations of genes, most cancers genes or oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, that management advanced networks of proteins that regulate the division, progress, and differentiation of cells within the physique. Differentiation refers back to the course of by which cells flip into specialised sorts of cells corresponding to pores and skin, blood, and nerves. As we age, we accumulate mutations of those genes in some cells. It requires a number of mutations of a number of completely different genes to provide most types of most cancers. Many various units of mutated genes trigger most cancers.

Whereas a medical physician or pathologist might establish a most cancers as breast most cancers or pores and skin most cancers, at a molecular and genetic stage, pores and skin most cancers is regarded as many alternative cancers brought on by many alternative units of mutated genes. In complete, most cancers is now regarded as hundreds of various illnesses. This makes discovering a single chemical much like penicillin, for instance, that may kill all cancers both not possible or very troublesome, at the very least by ranging from the person most cancers genes and the proteins they produce.

Even worse, most cancers cells are usually thought to grow to be genetically unstable and mutate way more quickly than regular cells. Therefore, the most cancers cells start to evolve within the physique and might develop immunity to anti-cancer medication corresponding to chemotherapy brokers.

Whereas most cancers varies enormously on the stage of genes and proteins, the half stage, most cancers cells might have widespread system-level options. For instance, pathologists can establish most cancers cells or tissues from biopsies underneath an optical microscope as most cancers. One other widespread attribute is that many, maybe all, most cancers cells have an irregular variety of chromosomes, usually too many. This text considers concentrating on the irregular variety of chromosomes.

The Bathtub Mechanism, developed by the writer a number of years in the past, is an algorithm, which might be applied by a comparatively easy set of molecules, that could possibly selectively destroy cell with an irregular variety of chromosomes. This technique of medication is sort of a bathtub with a number of operating taps, one for every chromosome, and a single drain. If there are too many taps, chromosomes, the water stage, the focus of the cell killer, will rise and overflow the bath. If there are the correct quantity, forty-six, or too few, lower than forty-six, taps, the drain can take away the water being added and the water stage by no means rises. The water stage stays nearly zero; the focus of the cell killer is much too low to hurt the cell.

One can kill cells with too few chromosomes (lower than forty-six) by swapping the roles of the drain and the supply. The drain is now a function of the chromosomes. The supply is the fixed numerical function of the cells. Thus, if there are too few chromosomes, there will not be sufficient drains to take away the cell killer produced by the supply. The bath has one massive faucet and plenty of small drains, one for every chromosome. The water stage, the focus of the toxin, rises if there are too few drains/chromosomes.

It could be potential to create proteins that react immediately with the supply and drain options within the cell. Then again, it might be crucial to make use of a supply and a drain catalyst that bind to the supply and drain options and grow to be energetic catalysts solely when binding to the supply or drain options. On this article the primary case is taken into account. The supply and drain catalysts are mentioned in additional element within the earlier two articles.

Molecular Constructing Blocks of the Bathtub Mechanism

(A (BC)) innocent Precursor
(BC) Cell Killer
B innocent fragment
C innocent fragment

IN Inhibitor Precursor
I Bacteriophage Inhibitor
N innocent fragment

D Drain
IS Inhibitor Supply
S Supply (on or related to chromosome, could also be a DNA sequence)

The bath mechanism requires two options within the cell: a numerical or quantitative function that’s proportional to the variety of chromosomes and a function that’s fixed in all cells, each regular and cancerous. Some apparent options that most likely fluctuate with the variety of chromosomes are the telomeres on the finish of the chromosomes and the centromeres on the heart of the chromosomes.

There are various molecular constructions within the chromosomes and related to the chromosomes. It appears possible, though not sure, that one can discover a numerical or quantitative function that varies with the variety of chromosomes that might be used. A extra significant issue with the bath mechanism is the fixed function that’s the similar in each wholesome cells and most cancers cells, particularly since most cancers cells are regarded as continually mutating and altering. This can be a show-stopper.

Because the most cancers cells could also be mutating, it might be not possible to discover a fixed function within the most cancers cells. The function might disappear fully or change in dimension or quantity. There’s at the very least one potential means so as to add such a function artificially to the cells, each wholesome and malignant.

A bacteriophage is a form of virus that attaches to the outside membrane of a cell and injects its genetic materials into the cell. The bacteriophage’s genetic materials then takes over the equipment of the cell and directs it to make extra bacteriophages. The bacteriophage consists of a protein sheath that appears one thing like a science fiction bug with a number of arms (see animations under) that seize the floor of the cell and a spherical or polyhedral chamber that carries the genetic materials.

In precept, one might modify the genetic materials of the bacteriophage to create cells (the generally used E. Coli micro organism, for instance) that make not the virus, however the protein sheath with a payload of different proteins or non-coding DNA sequences, specifically DNA sequences that regulatory proteins bind to. These pseudo-bacteriophages would inject their protein or non-coding DNA payloads into cells as an alternative of the genetic materials of the naturally occurring bacteriophage. They might not be infectious like a traditional virus.

If, and this can be a massive if, one might modify the protein sheath so it will solely inject the protein or non-coding DNA payload right into a cell with out an inhibitor protein I that’s generatd by inhibitor sources (IS) within the payload, one might inject a payload that contained a man-made fixed drain function D and the inhibitor sources IS into the cell. The inhibitor protein I’d work, for instance, by blocking the arms of the bacteriophage from attaching to the outside membrane of the cell, which presumably triggers the injection of the payload.

As soon as the brand new drain function was added to the cell, the pseudo-bacteriophages would cease injecting payloads into the cell as a result of it now additionally contained the inhibitors. Thus, a relentless variety of options might be added to every cell, each wholesome and cancerous.

The Pseudo-Bacteriophage Payload is both a string of protein items or non-coding DNA with repeated sequences of regulatory protein binding websites, drains D and inhibitor sources IS

Sequence of reactions:

ABC (Precursor) ==> Supply (S) (telomere or different chromosome function) ==> A + BC (Cell Killer)

BC (Cell Killer) ==> Drain (D) ==> B (Innocent Fragment) + C (Innocent Fragment)

IN (Inhibitor Precursor) ==> IS (Inhibitor Supply) ==> I (Bacteriophage Inhibitor) + N (Innocent Fragment)

The pseudo-bacteriophage payload is:


Within the animations under:

The inhibitor I and the inhibitor supply IS are represented by the blue spheres within the payload string

The drain D is the orange spheres in bacteriophage payload

The bacteriophage payload is proven as a string of blue and orange spheres within the first 4 animations under, largely clearly within the fourth closeup animation. The inhibitors are proven within the second animation as blue spheres on the floor of the cell that forestall the bacteriophage from injecting a second payload string (drain) right into a cell.

The payload is a single strand of protein sub-units or non-coding DNA. When the cell divides, the payload ought to find yourself in just one daughter cell. The opposite daughter cell will lack the payload and the inhibitor sources. The pseudo-bacteriophages will then add one other payload string with the drain to the drainless daughter cell.

Alternatively, if the payload is a non-coding DNA string, not proteins, it might be potential to combine the DNA string into the cell’s DNA, the chromosomes, as a single inherited drain. On this case, the drain shall be inherited by each daughter cells when the cell divides.


The next animations illustrate the Bathtub Mechanism, a primary idea. The animations had been created by the writer utilizing the free POV-Ray (Persistence of Imaginative and prescient Ray Tracing Program) for Home windows 3.62 on a PC operating Home windows XP Service Pack 2. The POV-Ray scene description recordsdata comprise a very easy mathematical mannequin of the bath mechanism. The rendered frames had been mixed into MPEG-4 video recordsdata utilizing the free, open-source ffmpeg video encoding utility. These animations illustrate a primary idea. They don’t seem to be a quantitative mathematical mannequin or simulation of cells, even at low constancy.

This animation reveals a pseudo-bacteriophage injecting a drain payload right into a cell:

This animation reveals a pseudo-bacteriophage prevented from injecting a second drain payload right into a cell that already has a drain. The blue spheres are the inhibitors that forestall the pseudo-bacteriophage legs from attaching to the cell membrane.

This animation reveals a large angle view of the innocent precursor (crimson cone with inexperienced sphere cap) transformed to the cell killer (crimson cone) by the telomere (yellow finish of cylinder) of a single chromosome after which neutralized by the drain payload (proven as a string of orange drain spheres and blue inhibitor supply spheres):

This animation reveals a closeup view of the innocent precursor (crimson cone with inexperienced sphere cap) transformed to the cell killer (crimson cone) by the telomere (yellow finish of cylinder) of a single chromosome after which neutralized by the drain payload (proven as a string of orange drain spheres and blue inhibitor supply spheres):

This animation reveals a traditional cell with forty-six chromosomes (represented by a easy blue sphere for readability). The drain is represented by a easy inexperienced and grey sphere for readability. The drain is inexperienced when it might probably course of a cell killer, changing it to a innocent fragment (represented by a white sphere for readability) which is excreted by the cell. The drain is black when it’s processing a cell killer and can’t convert one other. The drain has a most throughput. In a traditional cell, the drain can take away as many cell killers as are added by the sources, the chromosomes. The focus of the cell killer, the quantity within the decrease proper nook of the animation, stays low, by no means reaching the deadly stage of two-hundred.

This animation reveals the cell killer focus rising and killing a most cancers cell with too many chromosomes (represented by two blue spheres for 2 units of chromosomes). The cell killer focus is the quantity displayed within the decrease proper nook. The drain can not take away the cell killers as quickly as they’re added. The focus rises to the deadly stage of two-hundred and the cell disintegrates. The membrane is proven decaying by making it an increasing number of clear because the cell killer focus rises.

Future Steps

Many technical particulars and difficulties have been omitted to current the thought. Whereas it may be potential to analysis and develop the bath mechanism fully empirically at a laboratory bench by in depth trial and error, it needs to be potential to considerably speed up the event course of by simulating the molecular mechanisms utilizing right now’s highly effective computer systems. In follow, it will most likely require cautious tuning of the chemical response charges within the cell to provide the specified selective destruction of cells with irregular numbers of chromosomes or different options related to most cancers.

The following logical step is to assemble a mathematical mannequin and simulation of the bath mechanism in actual cells, iteratively rising the extent of constancy. This may allow analysis of the feasibility of the idea and of particular variants of the idea, as many variations are potential and extra will grow to be evident with detailed simulation and dealing by of the idea. Maybe extra importantly an in depth simulation would make it simpler for specialists in numerous fields of biology and natural chemistry — chromosomes, bacteriophages, proteins, many others — to see the place their experience might match into the idea or resolve in any other case intractable issues.

Naturally occurring networks of proteins and different molecules in cells appear to have the ability to carry out many advanced mathematical and logical calculations, such because the suggestions management networks that appear to malfunction in most cancers. Whereas one can’t be sure, it isn’t unlikely {that a} comparatively easy community of proteins and different molecules can implement the bath mechanism or one thing comparable.

Even engineering a single molecule corresponding to genetically engineered insulin for diabetics is a frightening activity at current. So a system of even a couple of molecules can be a considerable and troublesome endeavor. Nonetheless it’s most likely doable now or within the close to future.

Nevertheless, the underlying biology is unknown. Although there are over one-million analysis papers on most cancers, it’s troublesome to get a transparent image of the position of aneuploidy in most cancers. Most trendy most cancers analysis is performed throughout the framework of the oncogene idea and an implicit assumption that the way in which to treatment or deal with most cancers is to focus on both a protein generated by a most cancers gene or the gene immediately.

Chromosomal anomalies, each irregular numbers of chromosomes and the rearrangements of chromosomes which are widespread in lots of cancers, are normally mentioned as an apart to the putative most cancers genes. This translocation of chromosome X mutated the important thing most cancers gene ABC, or the duplication of chromosome X resulted in two copies of the important thing most cancers gene ABC.

It might be that killing most cancers cells with the flawed variety of chromosomes would haven’t any impact on the illness. It will merely lead to a most cancers with the right variety of chromosomes within the surviving most cancers cells. It might gradual the illness if the irregular variety of chromosomes is expounded to the malignancy of the most cancers cells. In the very best case, it would treatment the illness, if the irregular variety of chromosomes is both the reason for most cancers or important not directly to the malignant traits of the most cancers cells.


Everybody faces a few one in three probability of dying from most cancers. Most cancers researchers would love extra spectacular outcomes to indicate coverage makers and most of the people, particularly when in search of continued or elevated funding. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations ought to want improved anti-cancer medication and coverings to take care of and enhance their income. Defeating most cancers would liberate assets and researchers to sort out different illnesses of outdated age and even the getting old course of itself.

It could be potential to treatment or successfully deal with most cancers with a system of sensible medication that carry out a easy mathematical or logical calculation to selectively destroy most cancers cells or possible most cancers cells whereas sparing most traditional wholesome cells. These techniques of sensible medication could possibly establish system stage options of most cancers cells unbiased of the complicated plethora of most cancers genes and tumor suppressor genes.

The bath mechanism mentioned on this article is one potential instance of such a system of sensible medication. Arithmetic and computer systems can allow or tremendously speed up the event of such techniques of sensible medication.

Given the multitude of most cancers genes and tumor suppressor genes which have been found within the final forty years, we must always take a look at different elements of most cancers corresponding to potential system stage options for a treatment or efficient therapy. In the present day’s highly effective computer systems, arithmetic, and physics mixed with the huge organic information acquired within the final forty years might make it potential to assault most cancers efficiently in ways in which weren’t sensible even a couple of years in the past.

© 2011 John F. McGowan

In regards to the Creator

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves issues utilizing arithmetic and mathematical software program, together with growing video compression and speech recognition applied sciences. He has in depth expertise growing software program in C, C++, Visible Fundamental, Mathematica, MATLAB, and plenty of different programming languages. He’s most likely greatest identified for his AVI Overview, an Web FAQ (Regularly Requested Questions) on the Microsoft AVI (Audio Video Interleave) file format. He has labored as a contractor at NASA Ames Analysis Heart concerned within the analysis and growth of picture and video processing algorithms and know-how. He has printed articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the invention of methane on Mars), and low-cost entry to area. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Know-how (Caltech). He might be reached at [email protected].

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