Evolution and cancer: a mathematical biology approach

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 “Cancer is, in some sense, a condensed-time laboratory of evolution” says Marek Kimmel, in an Editorial to introduce a new thematic series published in Biology Direct.

The series brings together cancer researchers and mathematicians to provide insight into the various ways that evolutionary mechanisms relate to cancer, and how these mechanisms can be modeled mathematically. Articles in the series focus on three broad themes; carcinogenesis and the emergence of cancer, evolution and progression of cancer cells and structures, and implications for therapy.

A broad spectrum of areas where evolutionary forces such as mutation and selection are at work are considered; from the level of gene regulation and DNA repair mechanisms disrupted in cancer, to the development of resistance and invasion mechanisms in cancerous tumors themselves.

Mathematical models of the processes relating to cancer have become progressively more infused with genetic and biological details, with the aim of being able to develop functional models reconcilable with the epidemiology of given cancers.

Kimmel states that “qualitative and quantitative understanding of cancer is a necessary condition for engineering approaches to fight it – the latter are still scarce”; the articles in the series illustrate the substantial progress that has been made in this field over the past decade.

  • http://www.jnu.ac.in/faculty/pcrath pramod c. rath, ph.d.

    Cancer & evolution articles published in Biology Direct provide a new way of thinking for understanding and possibly tackling cancer and may be other complex diseases.
    The parallelism,complexity of interactions,selection advantages,coexistence of heterogeneity to make it further complex, may be make cancer to be thought of differently.