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Created by: Attila Dénes, Sadegh Marzban, Gergely Röst

Issue 172: A recent discovery is that the phenotype conversion of cancer cells from sensitive to resistant can occur through the transfer of microvesicles from resistant cells to sensitive cells, in a way similar to the spread of an infectious agent. We constructed two mathematical models to understand the possible effect of this phenonemon on the outcome of chemotherapy: an ODE model to perform a comprehensive analyis, and an ABM to reveal the spatiotemporal dynamics. The figure shows the bifurcation chart of possible outcomes with respect to drug concentration and the fitness of the resistant cells: tumour eradication, partial response to therapy, or treatment failure. Blue cells are sensitive, and green ones are resistant. Our results suggest that the presence of microvesicle transfer cannot ruin a therapy that otherwise leads to complete remission of the tumour, however it may doom a partially successful therapy to failure. Read the full paper here.