8th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
October 4-6, 2017
|PoC - Physics of Cancer - Annual Symposium|
Emergent cancer-like phenomenology in a simple model of cells with growth and chemical signalling
Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford, 1 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3NP, UK
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Using a simple model, I will address the question of stability when we study a collection of living cells, when they all send and receive chemical signals and undergo growth and death. How can we guarantee that a community of such cells can maintain a stable – homeostatic – state? The answer is not trivial, because each process on its own leads to unstable states. Such a crude phenomenological description of chemotaxis leads to interesting new perspectives. The competition between chemotaxis and cell division, which might at first sight seem completely unrelated. We have developed a simple model to explore any possible interplay between the two processes, and studied it via dynamical Renormalization Groups methods. We find that whereas details of the microscopic behaviour of cells do not impact the collective behaviour on a large scale, the interplay between the two general processes of growth and chemotaxis leads to a variety of collective phenomena, which includes a sharp transition from a phase that has moderate controlled growth and death, and regulated chemical interactions, to a phase with strong uncontrolled growth/death and no chemical interactions. Remarkably, for a range of parameters, the transition point shows nontrivial collective motion, which can even be described analytically.