"Exploring tumor evolution under the influence of the immune system"
While tumoral heterogeneity play a major role in the development of malignancy, the tumor microenvironment and the initial immune response are equally as important. The immune system is responsible for cancer surveillance and the initial suppression of malignancy. However, with the correct evolutionary mutations, cancer immunoediting can result in immune evasion. Yet, few models incorporate immune components to study the progression and impact of such mutations. In this work, we developed an agent-based model to explore this fitness strategy represented as an evolutionary game. Then, in a phased experimental approach, we plan to validate our model with various immune components, such as CD8+ T cells, NK cells, and other lymphocytes. Ultimately, this work will begin to elucidate the impact of the immune system on cancer evolution and allow us to begin to steer evolution towards more favorable outcomes.
Additional authors: Jacob G. Scott, Cleveland Clinic Department of Translational Hematology & Oncology Research