BIOL-464: Cancer Biology

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date

Spring 5-10-2019


Cancer Biology | Genetics and Genomics

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Evolutionary theory of cancer was developed in 1976 by cancer research Peter Nowell and has illuminated the path toward increasing safety and efficacy of clinical treatment strategies. Major foundations that makeup the complexity in Darwinian framework of cancer includes clonal evolution, clonal expansion, and competition. Due to these characteristics, virtually all types of cancer have evolutionary capabilities to reject or adapt and become resistant to pharmaceutical therapies. Despite compelling evidence of these process, evolutionary modeling of cancer continues to be underutilized in clinical settings. Contributions to this include the complex adaptive mechanisms that tools fail to detect or are unable to be targeted effectively, lack of studies regarding quantity and relevance, and the perception of evolutionary theory. As a result, failure to clinically adopt evolutionary modeling has delayed development of new cancer therapy strategies, particularly for cancer recurrence. Drug resistance and relapse are devastating and compelling pieces of evidence that should compel researchers and clinicians to integrate evolutionary modeling into cancer treatment. Evolutionary modeling provides key insight into developing treatments that are as dynamic as cancer biology, including personalized medicine, Adaptive Therapy (AT), and to make systemic cancer treatments obsolete.