The immune system protects the human body against threats such as emerging cancers or infections, e.g., COVID-19. Mutated malignant cells may in many cases be controlled by the immune system to be kept at unnoticed low amount. However, a severe infection may compromise the immune system in controlling such malignant clones leading to escape and fatal cancer progression. A novel mechanism based computational model coupling cancer and infection to the adaptive immune system is presented and analyzed. The model pin-points important physiological mechanisms responsible for cancer progression and explains numerous medical observations. The progression of a cancers and the effects of treatments depend on cancer burden, the level of infection and on the efficiency of the adaptive immune system. The model exhibits bi-stability, i.e., gravitate towards one of two stable steady states: a harmless dormant state or a full-blown cancer-infection disease state. A borderline exists and if infection exceeds this for a sufficiently long period of time the cancer escapes. Early treatment is vital for remission and may control the cancer back into the stable dormant state. CAR T-cell immunotherapy is investigated by help of the model. The therapy significantly improves its efficacy in combination with antibiotics or immunomodulation.
- Cancer-infection comorbidity
- Cancer-infection-immune coupling
- CAR T-cell therapy
- Dormant state
- In silico investigation
- Mathematical modelling
- The three E’s of immunoediting