Cancer poses danger because of its unregulated growth, development of resistant subclones, and metastatic spread to vital organs. We currently lack quantitative theory for how preventive measures and post-diagnostic interventions are predicted to affect risks of a life threatening cancer. We evaluate how continuous measures such as life style changes and traditional treatments affect both neoplastic growth and the frequency of resistant clones. We then compare and contrast preventive and post-diagnostic interventions assuming that only a single lesion progresses to invasive carcinoma during the life of an individual, and resection either leaves residual cells, or metastases are undetected. Whereas prevention generally results in more positive therapeutic outcomes than post-diagnostic interventions, this advantage is substantially lowered should prevention initially fail to arrest tumour growth. We discuss these results and other important mitigating factors that need to be taken into consideration in a comparative understanding of preventive and post-diagnostic interventions.
- Carl T Bergstrom, University of Washington, United States
© 2015, Akhmetzhanov & Hochberg
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The design of compounds that can discriminate between closely related target proteins remains a central challenge in drug discovery. Specific therapeutics targeting the highly conserved myosin motor family are urgently needed as mutations in at least 6 of its members cause numerous diseases. Allosteric modulators, like the myosin-II inhibitor blebbistatin, are a promising means to achieve specificity. However, it remains unclear why blebbistatin inhibits myosin-II motors with different potencies given that it binds at a highly conserved pocket that is always closed in blebbistatin-free experimental structures. We hypothesized that the probability of pocket opening is an important determinant of the potency of compounds like blebbistatin. To test this hypothesis, we used Markov state models (MSMs) built from over 2 milliseconds of aggregate molecular dynamics simulations with explicit solvent. We find that blebbistatin’s binding pocket readily opens in simulations of blebbistatin-sensitive myosin isoforms. Comparing these conformational ensembles reveals that the probability of pocket opening correctly identifies which isoforms are most sensitive to blebbistatin inhibition and that docking against MSMs quantitatively predicts blebbistatin binding affinities (R2=0.82). In a blind prediction for an isoform (Myh7b) whose blebbistatin sensitivity was unknown, we find good agreement between predicted and measured IC50s (0.67 mM vs. 0.36 mM). Therefore, we expect this framework to be useful for the development of novel specific drugs across numerous protein targets.
Epifluorescence miniature microscopes ('miniscopes') are widely used for in vivo calcium imaging of neural population activity. Imaging data is typically collected during a behavioral task and stored for later offline analysis, but emerging techniques for online imaging can support novel closed-loop experiments in which neural population activity is decoded in real time to trigger neurostimulation or sensory feedback. To achieve short feedback latencies, online imaging systems must be optimally designed to maximize computational speed and efficiency while minimizing errors in population decoding. Here we introduce DeCalciOn, an open-source device for real-time imaging and population decoding of in vivo calcium signals that is hardware compatible with all miniscopes that use the UCLA Data Acquisition (DAQ) interface. DeCalciOn performs online motion stabilization, neural enhancement, calcium trace extraction, and decoding of up to 1024 traces per frame at latencies of <50 ms after fluorescence photons arrive at the miniscope image sensor. We show that DeCalciOn can accurately decode the position of rats (n=12) running on a linear track from calcium fluorescence in the hippocampal CA1 layer, and can categorically classify behaviors performed by rats (n=2) during an instrumental task from calcium fluorescence in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). DeCalciOn achieves high decoding accuracy at short latencies using innovations such as field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware for real time image processing and contour-free methods to efficiently extract calcium traces from sensor images. In summary, our system offers an affordable plug-and-play solution for real-time calcium imaging experiments in behaving animals.