Cancer 2

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This model is seeking new collaborators — would you please help?

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Default-person Boris Itkin (Author)


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Currently, the strategies for the design of new pharmacological treatments of cancer are focused on detection of some vulnerability inside of cancer cell and action upon it. Any kind of mutual dependence between cancer cells and its importance for survival of the cancer tissue as a whole is “disregarded”, and is not exploited in the design of pharmacological treatments. The hypothesis under evaluation is that cancer cells provide support one to another to form a structure. With this support by contact they survive and proliferate, without this support they die. Cancer cells can obtain the support for survival from normal cells as well.But this is not reciprocal.Cancer cells do not provide any support for normal cells.


There are two cell population: cancer cells ("cancers") and normal cells ("normals"). The initial number of both is regulated by the respective sliders.

-If a cancer cell is in contact with another cancer cell or a normal cell, it survives and devides in two.

-Otherwise it dies.

-If a normal cell is in contact with another normal cell it survives,but no cell division takes place.

- If there is no cell in contact with a normal cell, it dies

- If the neighbor of a normal cell is a cancer cell, the normal cell dies


Initial number of cancer cells

Intial number of normal cells


Adjust parameters of the sliders or use the default setting

Press the "set-up" button

Press the "go" button to begin the simulation

Look at the "Malignant cells" plot to observe the growth of the cancer cells population


Is there any relation between the initial number of cancer cells, normal cells and cancer/normal ratio and the success of tumor growth.

Is there a "threshold-like" behavior of the initial normal and the probability of success of cancer?

Are normal cells indispensable for the cancer survival? Always?, never?, sometimes?


Try to modify both initial-number slider to determine a threshold, below which the probability of tumor growth is low.

(suggested things for the user to try to do (move sliders, switches, etc.) with the model)


Modify a code increase the complexity of the model introducing an additional parameter: number of cells in contact enogh to survival, from 1 to 8,in authors´ version this number is 1. For this, introduce a switch button to change from von Neumann to Moore neighborhood.

(suggested things to add or change in the Code tab to make the model more complicated, detailed, accurate, etc.)


(interesting or unusual features of NetLogo that the model uses, particularly in the Code tab; or where workarounds were needed for missing features)


(models in the NetLogo Models Library and elsewhere which are of related interest)


(a reference to the model's URL on the web if it has one, as well as any other necessary credits, citations, and links)

Comments and Questions


Hi Boris! Very interesting project. I've seen you are looking for collaboration: if you like I could introduce some code lines to get a more balanced dynamic of the life cycle cells populations.

Posted 22 days ago

Click to Run Model

breed[cancers cancer] ;malignant cells
breed[normals normal] ;normal cells

to setup

  ask patches [ set pcolor gray ]

  set-default-shape cancers "pentagon" ;; mailgnant cells
  create-cancers initial-number-cancers  ;; create the malignant cells,
    set color red
    set size 1  ;; malignant cell
 setxy random-xcor random-ycor
  set-default-shape normals"square" ;;normal cells
  create-normals initial-number-normals  ;; create the normal cells,
    set color blue
    set size 1
    setxy random-xcor random-ycor


to go
  if not any? cancers [stop]
  if ticks = 20 [stop] ;; the computational power of my PC is not enogh to continue with more tics

  ask cancers [
    any? turtles-on neighbors4
    [hatch 1 rt random-float 360 fd 1 ]

  ask normals  [
   if not any? normals-on neighbors4


There is only one version of this model, created 5 months ago by Boris Itkin.

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