What Evolution Can Teach Us About Cancer

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Like wombats and wildebeests, cancer cells are continually adapting to their environment. If that environment includes drugs meant to kill cancer cells, some cells may adapt so well, they eventually gain the ability to grow and divide in spite of those drugs – a process known as drug resistance. The result can be a resurgence of tumors that once were held in check by treatment.

In a video from a TEDMED 2012 Conference, Dana-Farber’s Franziska Michor, PhD, explains how she and her colleagues are using advanced mathematical formulas to see if changing the schedule for a medication can reduce the chance that a tumor will become drug-resistant. Her talk (and her story in Paths of Progress magazine, also available as an iPad app) illustrates one way that researchers are harnessing mathematics to pursue the war on cancer.

Watch the TEDMED 2012 talk

Watch the Q&A with Franziska Michor, PhD

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