Cancer researchers often, at least these days, talk about Team Science as our best hope to understand and treat cancer. I agree. But team science is easier to explain than to do: it involves bridging scientific communities that rarely speak to each other.
If you look at the figure accompanying this post (and beautifully sketched by Dr. Arturo Araujo) you will find the way we are trying to address this problem at Moffitt. To no one’s surprise it involves using mathematical oncology as the glue between our understanding of the biology of cancer and the clinical data from the hospital. It means that we can try to understand the complex mechanisms that drive cancer, personalise them with patient data, and help clinicians come with better ways to use existent but also new treatments.
Today our group received good news in the shape of a pilot grant from the Moffitt Cancer Center to explore these ideas in the context of prostate cancer. Together with the lab of Dr. Conor Lynch and the clinical team of Dr. Julio Powsang (as well as many other talented experimental, mathematical and clinical researchers) we will start utilising the abundant clinical data (generously donated by) from Moffitt’s patients to parameterise, test and improve a mathematical model that will help Dr. Powsang and colleagues treat prostate cancer patients.
These are exciting times to be in cancer research. Researchers have gathered experimental data and hypotheses for decades but I believe that integrated and multiscale mathematical models will catalyse discoveries in ways that we have not seen before.