An Agent-Based Interpretation of Leukocyte Chemotaxis in Cancer-on-Chip Experiments
The present paper was inspired by recent developments in laboratory experiments within the framework of cancer-on-chip technology, an immune-oncology microfluidic chip aiming at studying the fundamental mechanisms of immunocompetent behavior. We focus on the laboratory setting where cancer is treated with chemotherapy drugs, and in this case, the effects of the treatment administration hypothesized by biologists are: the absence of migration and proliferation of tumor cells, which are dying; the stimulation of the production of chemical substances (annexin); the migration of leukocytes in the direction of higher concentrations of chemicals. Here, following the physiological hypotheses made by biologists on the phenomena occurring in these experiments, we introduce an agent-based model reproducing the dynamics of two cell populations (agents), i.e., tumor cells and leukocytes living in the microfluidic chip environment. Our model aims at proof of concept, demonstrating that the observations of the biological phenomena can be obtained by the model on the basis of the explicit assumptions made. In this framework, close adherence of the computational model to the biological results, as shown in the section devoted to the first calibration of the model with respect to available observations, is successfully accomplished.