Quantitative Models for the Kinetics of Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity at the Single Cell Level

  • Alan S. Perelson
  • Catherine A. Macken
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 187)


Is there a role for quantitative theory in helping us understand cell mediated cytotoxicity? In many areas of science, but particularly physics and chemistry, theory has played a fundamental, and in some cases an essential, role in advancing knowledge. In physics a primary activity of theorists is to envision and then explore in a quantitative manner alternative constructions for the universe. A theorist might ask how the orbits of the eight closest planets surrounding the sun would change if there were a ninth planet, or how bubble chamber tracks might look if there were a new elementary particle, or how a clock would run if it were in a space ship traveling at 99% the speed of light, or what the diffraction pattern of nucleic acid would be if the molecule were a double helix. By engaging in flights of fantasy and examining in a quantitative manner the consequences of alternative designs of the universe, great progress has been made in the physical sciences. Given such successes, one is tempted to believe that there is a role for similar theoretical activities in cell biology and immunology. Here we demonstrate how a theoretical approach can be used to gain insights into T cell mediated cytotoxicity.


Target Cell Single Cell Level Cell Mediate Cytotoxicity Target Cell Lysis Lytic Process 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan S. Perelson
    • 1
  • Catherine A. Macken
    • 1
  1. 1.Theoretical DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA

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