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.