ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., Feb. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James
"The work was stimulated by many conversations I had with Dr. Coffey about the fundamental nature and fascination of symmetry we experienced," said lead author Dr. Frost, and adjunct professor and professor emeritus of radiology at John Hopkins. "Including concepts of biology and life as a state between perfect order and chaos. That is, life is a condition of partially but not completely broken symmetry."
In physics, symmetry and the loss or breaking of symmetry refers to states of change. A perfect snowflake is rotationally symmetrical because each iteration in its pattern around the circle remains unchanged. If the snowflake should partially melt anywhere, there's a change in the snowflake's radial pattern and thus the symmetry is broken.
Dr. Coffey and his colleagues reported in the study that many of the molecules that make life possible are constantly changing and interacting and that life itself could be considered a stable rhythm of symmetry and symmetry breaking.
Symmetry has been useful in simplifying and understanding complex physical problems. Likewise, Dr. Frost and his colleagues believe that understanding cancer through the framework of symmetry can help reveal new ways to understand cancer. Since cancer rises out of a dysfunction in life's fundamental machinery, the study suggests that cancer could be considered to be a symmetry breaking process that disrupts biology's normal rhythm.
The article reveals that there may be a way to understand cancer at the point of this disruption that biology has not yet discovered.
"We lay out the argument that therapies directed to destroying cancer at a system level rather than at the level of a single molecular target could be directed at points in the cancer network where symmetry is maximally broken, where the system is most vulnerable," said lead author, Dr. Frost. "Conversely, could points of broken symmetry be targeted for repair in order to restore the normal homeostasis of the cell? That's a much more futuristic aspect of the research."
In the future, Dr. Frost hopes that cancer biologists and clinical oncologists will follow up with more in-depth theoretical research and empirical investigation.
A video interview with the first author and an audio version of the interview is also available online. Written spotlight on Dr. James Frost and audio version available as well.
Oncotarget is a twice-weekly, peer-reviewed, open access biomedical journal covering research on all aspects of oncology and publishing sub-sections on topics beyond oncology such as Aging, Immunology and Microbiology, Autophagy, Pathology and Chromosomes and more. Oncotarget is published by Rapamycin Press, the publishing division of Impact Journals LLC.
Media Contact Information:
Ryan James Jessup Rapamycin Press +1 202 638 9720 RyanJamesJessup@RapamycinPress.com
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