The cancer ecosystem: this time is not me!

Cells, a few of them but…do they get along?

But it’s about me, or more precisely about a paper that Sandy Anderson and myself published last year about our view of cancer as an ecosystem. While doing research on all the work and ideas (more the latter than the former) on the view of cancer as part of an ecosystem I decided to take a look at what Google (well, to be precise, DuckDuckGo) had to say about the topic.

The first is this piece by Melina Gyparaki where she hightlights the role of game theory as a tool in which to study cancer and focuses on how indiscrimenately killing tumour cells is unlikely to constitute a long term solution to the disease (idea that we learned from people like Moffitt’s Bob Gatenby but is also a direct consequence of using game theory as a modelling tool).

Interestingly our work was also featured in the Smithsonian magazine. Racher Nuwer, the author, focuses on the idea that, given the complexity of cancer as an ecosystem, mathematical and computational models that integrate several scales of data are likely to be the best approach.

Thirdly, what I can only pressume to be the blog for the department of computer science at Darmouth, Erin O’Neil summarises these results to a computer science audience.

Finally I found out that renown cancer researcher Ken Pienta, from Johns Hopkins University, has a blog where he has written about his view of metastases as something that could be better seen as an invasive species trying to come to an existing ecosystem. That is something over which I have talked before and which you will probably see me writing about again.

Together with the views laid out by Merlo and Maley and by Axelrod and Pienta (two Axelrods in fact) I think we might be ready for action now.

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