Vera Pancaldi from the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse explores the challenges of data-driven modelling of Intercellular Interactions in the Tumor Microenvironment

On 25 January 2023, more than 100 attendees participated in the webinar presented by Vera Pancaldi from the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse entitled ‘Data-driven modelling of intercellular interactions in the tumour microenvironment’. This webinar discussed the challenges of data driving modelling and focused on simple models of immune-oncology dynamics in simplified experimental systems.

More specifically, Dr Pancaldi delved into the complex macrophage populations found in tumours, including tumour-associated macrophages, which support tumorigenesis through cancer hallmarks such as immunosuppression, angiogenesis, or matrix remodelling. In the case of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, these macrophages are known as nurse-like cells and they protect leukemic cells from spontaneous apoptosis, contributing to their chemoresistance.

To further understand these interactions, Dr. Pancaldi and her team proposed an agent-based model of monocyte differentiation into nurse-like cells upon contact with leukemic B cells in vitro. Using patient-specific data and cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients, the team was able to calibrate the model and reproduce temporal survival dynamics of cancer cells in a patient-specific manner. This allowed them to identify patient groups related to distinct macrophage phenotypes.

Check the complete webinar: