Clinical Perspectives


Researchers Use Intratumor Heterogeneity to Understand Eco-evolutionary Dynamics of Tumors

June 22, 2020

IMO Collaboratorium

In Moffitt's Mathematical Oncology department, researchers collaborate with clinicians by using mathematical models to study ecology and evolutionary dynamics in cancer. Dr. Meghan C. Ferrall-Fairbanks, postdoctoral fellow, shares the data from her "Scholar in Training" award-winning poster "Scales and dynamics of intratumor heterogeneity" at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting (AACR) 2020.

Currently, there are limited biomarkers available to stratify patient risk by heterogeneity. This research focuses on intratumor heterogeneity, the concept that a patient's cancer is comprised of multiple cell types that perform different functions. Researchers use single-cell RNA sequencing to visualize the data using a generalized diversity index (GDI). 

Dr. Ferrall-Fairbanks' poster discusses a theoretical mathematical framework used to examine how GDI changes over time, specifically in single-cell RNA sequencing samples of fused breast cancer cells. Using this framework, researchers are able to stratify patient outcomes by using the GDI to quantify intratumor heterogeneity and further understand the eco-evolutionary dynamics of tumors to help develop new therapeutic strategies. 

 

View the abstract for more information about the study. 

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