Moffitt Cancer Center PS-OC Physical Science - Oncology Center

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The Physical Microenvironment in Cancer Biology and Therapy

Project Director:  Robert A. Gatenby, M.D.

The physical microenvironments of primary and metastatic cancers are highly heterogeneous and almost invariably different from normal tissue. Abnormal tumor vasculogenesis and chaotic blood flow lead to chronic and acute (often cyclical) hypoxia.  Abnormal glucose metabolism due to hypoxia and aerobic glycolysis leads to acidosis.. This program will examine the role of the physical microenvironment in carcinogenesis, tumor progression and metastases. A major focus will be translational as we actively perturbations in the microenvironment as novel cancer prevention and treatment strategies

The PS-OC will approach the scientific questions using a research philosophy that integrates mathematical modeling with experimental biology and medicine. The primary site is the Department of Integrative Mathematical Oncology (IMO) at the Moffitt Cancer Center. The IMO is a bold experiment in which full-time applied mathematicians have  been integrated into the Moffitt faculty to develop quantitative models of cancer biology in partner ship with experimentalists and clinicians. The IMO vision can be summarized as follows (2):  “Cancer is a dynamic complex multiscale system that can only truly be understood via the integration of theory and experiments. The goal of the IMO is to use such an integrated approach to better understand, predict and treat cancer.”

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