Motility — random, directed and collective — is a fundamental property of cells. Unfortunately, this same process of cell motion that is an integral part of physical development can become deadly when deregulated, said Trachette Jackson, professor of mathematics, LSA, and cancer researcher.
Tumor angiogenesis is a prime example of aberrant cellular motility decisions leading to pathological outcomes, Jackson said. Angiogenesis is the growth of new capillaries from pre-existing vasculature and it is crucial to many physiological and pathological processes including embryonic development, wound healing and certain ocular diseases.
Jackson will deliver the lecture “The Evolution of Mathematical Approaches for Understanding Tumor Angiogenesis” at the Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium at 4 p.m. Jan. 20 in Room 1360 East Hall. Several mathematical models of tumor angiogenesis will be explored and recent advances will be highlighted.
During tumor progression, the formation of new blood vessels provides the necessary blood supply for the growth and nourishment of solid tumors beyond a diameter of 1-3 millimeters, Jackson said. Tumor angiogenesis marks the pivotal transition from diffusion dependent tumor growth to vascular growth, a more progressive and potentially fatal stage of the disease.
The processes associated with tumor angiogenesis are well ordered, but extremely complex, involving the intricate interplay between biochemical and biomechanical mechanisms, including cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, cell surface receptor binding, and intracellular signal transduction.
“A major challenge facing the cancer research community is to synthesize known information in a way that improves our understanding of the coordinated mechanisms driving tumor angiogenesis and advances efforts aimed at the development of new therapies for treating cancer by attacking its vascular supply,” Jackson said.
The Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium was established in 1999 in the Department of Mathematics in observance of Martin Luther King Day. It features a distinguished speaker who presents a lecture highlighting their research but also addresses the issue of diversity in the sciences.
The colloquium honors Browne, the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from U-M.