Connection Between Circadian Rhythms and Timing of Chemotherapy?


Research at the cellular level recently revealed that the cycle of cell division in mammalian cells synchronizes with the body’s own circadian clock. The research, led by the University of Warwick’s Systems Biology Centre and Medical School, helps explain why people with sustained disrupted circadian rhythms can be more susceptible to cancer. It may also help establish the optimal time of day to administer chemotherapy.


The original paper, entitled Phase Locking and Multiple Oscillating Attractors for the Coupled Mammalian Clock and Cell Cycle was published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Researchers reportedly drew on an idea of clock synchronization first demonstrated in the 18th century when Dutch scientist Christian Huygens observed the synchronization of two pendulum clocks.


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According to News-Medical, the University of Warwick led research team wanted to establish if the two clocks within a mammalian cell (the gene based “clock” regulating the cycle of cell division and the separate gene based clock within the same cell that was regulated by the body’s circadian) were or could be synchronized in the same way.


“Past researchers had failed to measure the clock mechanism behind normal circadian rhythms in single cells,” writes News-Medical. “The Warwick research team solved that by using multispectral imaging of single live cells, computational methods, and mathematical modeling to track the cycles of the two clocks and were able to observe (by making copies of the key genes that fluoresce) that that they were indeed synchronized with each other…These new findings could provide a significant clue as to why people with sustained disrupted circadian rhythms such as those doing shift work can be more susceptible to cancer.”

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