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Physical Science-Oncology Network

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) supports a collaborative network of Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OCs) and Physical Sciences Oncology Projects (PS-OPs).
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2017 Physical Sciences - Oncology Network Annual Investigators Meeting Poster Awardees
Congratulations to the poster awardees of the 2017 Physical Sciences - Oncology Network Annual Investigators Meeting which was held on October 17-19, 2017 at MIT in Cambridge, MA. Sixty-one posters were submitted and shown at the evening sessions during the meeting and ten participants were selected from each of the five categories: novel quantitative methods, single cell approached to physical oncology, engineered models of cancer, tumor microenvironment and immune cell interactions and in vivo & organoid models of growth and metastasis. Learn More
2017 Cancer Systems Biology Consortium and Physical Sciences - Oncology Network Junior Investigator Meeting Poster Awardees
Dr. Ellen Langer of Oregon Health & Science University and Dr. Jae Hun Kim of Harvard School of Public Health were chosen as poster awardees at the 2017 Cancer Systems Biology Consortium and Physical Sciences - Oncology Network Junior Investigator Meeting which was held on July 11-12, 2017 at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD. The meeting brought together senior graduate students through early stage faculty members who work at the interface of computation, physical sciences, and biology, as a way to build a community of interdisciplinary scientists facing similar career decisions and challenges. Learn More
Moffitt researchers predict melanoma responses through mathematical modeling
A study led by Alexander "Sandy" Anderson, Ph.D., a PI of the Moffitt Cancer Center PS-OC and Chair of the Integrated Mathematical Oncology (IMO) department at Moffitt Cancer Center, and Eunjung Kim, Ph.D., an applied research scientist, shows how mathematical modeling can accurately predict patient responses to cancer drugs in a virtual clinical trial. By using a range of mathematical modeling approaches targeted at specific types of cancer, these researchers are aiding in the development and testing of new treatment strategies, as well as facilitating a deeper understanding of why they fail. This study was recently published in the November issue of the European Journal of Cancer.
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Franziska Michor received the 2016 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research
Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) PS-OC PI Franziska Michor received the award in recognition of her meritorious early achievements in cancer research. Dr. Michor delivered her award lecture titled "Biology and Dynamics of Cancer Evolution" at the Annual Meeting 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Activation of proto-oncogenes by disruption of chromosome neighborhoods
A study by Dr. Job Dekker, co-investigator of the Northwestern University PS-OC was recently published in Science Magazine. The research article discusses the activation of proto-oncogenes by disruption of chromosome neighborhoods. These findings strongly support disruption of chromatin structure as causally linked to tumorigenesis, and suggest that such disruptions may be the hidden culprit driving many tumors.
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The Forces of Cancer
Authors Lance Munn and Rakesh Jain of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital published “The Forces of Cancer” in The Scientist Magazine. The article illustrates it is becoming quite clear that a tumor’s physical environment can influence cancer development and spread. The April issue will be distributed at the American Association for Cancer Research 2016 annual meeting in New Orleans.
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Moffitt PS-OC research featured in TIME Magazine online
A study led by Dr. Robert Gatenby and Dr. Robert Gillies, co-PIs of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute PS-OC, was recently published in Science Translational Medicine. The research article illustrates a novel evolutionary approach to maximize the efficacy of chemotherapy while minimizing toxicity in preclinical models of breast cancer. Dr. Gatenby and his team’s findings were featured in TIME Magazine online where questions were raised about whether current chemotherapy regimens are the best approach to treating cancer patients.
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Sharon Gerecht receives inaugural JHU President's Frontier Award
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) PS-OC investigator Sharon Gerecht received the JHU President's Frontier Award to explore new 'outside-of-the-box' avenues of research. Sean Sun, another JHU PS-OC investigator was awarded as an outstanding finalist for the prize.
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Franziska Michor received the 2015 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science
Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) PS-OC PI Franziska Michor received the prize in recognition of her outstanding early achievements in biomedical sciences.
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Personalized Medicine for Breast Cancer. Robb Report, October 2014
An interview with Dr. Peter Kuhn and Dr. Jim Hicks of the Scripps Research Institute PS-OC
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The Mathematician Versus the Malignancy
Mathematical biologists are working with clinicians to test whether sophisticated treatment schedules can improve the efficacy of existing cancer drugs.
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Bill Nye Saves the World — With Help From Dr. Kristin Swanson
Kristin Swanson, a mathematical neuro-oncologist located at the Mayo Clinic, Arizona was recently a guest on "Bill Nye Saves the World," discussing how her lab uses mathematical oncology to match patients to optimal treatments. Dr Swanson works with PS-OCs at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Moffitt Cancer Center.
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Dr. David Odde on "How cell phones and video gaming can help cancer patients"
David Odde, PI of the University of Minnesota PS-OC discusses how cell phones and video gaming can help cancer patients by building computer models that predict patient prognosis and point to potential therapeutic strategies at the TEDx Minneapolis.
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Johns Hopkins researchers say they've unlocked key to cancer metastasis and how to slow it
Dr. Denis Wirtz and Hasini Jayatilaka from the Johns Hopkins University discuss their discovery of a biochemical signaling process that causes densely packed cancer cells to break away from a tumor and spread the disease elsewhere in the body.
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Dr. Thomas O’Halloran at the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
Watch Dr. Thomas O’Halloran, co-Principal Investigator of the Northwestern University PS-OC, at the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) as he discusses how new investment aimed at stimulating rapid innovation in diagnosis and treatment will be strongly accelerated by bringing interdisciplinary teams of oncologists and cancer biologists together with outsiders.
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Paul Davies at New Scientist Live Event in London
Hear leading cosmologist and author Paul Davies describe new insights that come from looking at cancer cells as physical objects - including a radically new approach to therapy. This New Scientist Live event took place at Conway Hall, London, on 5 June 2013. Paul Davies directs the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University.
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Tracking Ovarian Cancer Through Blood Cells
Dr. Kelly Bethel, from the Scripps PS-OC discusses how monitoring Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) in the blood of ovarian cancer patients is being used to monitor to track response to treatments and disease progression.
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Dr. Franziska Michor on "When does 2 + 2 = LIFE?"
Franziska Michor, PI of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute PS-OC discusses how mathematical approaches can help us understand and combat cancer at the TEDMED conference.
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Cancer in 3-D
Denis Wirtz from the Johns Hopkins University PS-OC presents his research on how 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional environments impact cancer and cell migration. Video courtesy of the Northwestern University PS-OC.
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Fundamental Mechanochemistry of Tumor Progression
Jan Liphardt of the University of California, Berkeley PS-OC discusses the research on how cell mechanics and physical forces regulate tissue architecture and cancer progression. Video courtesy of the Northwestern University PS-OC.
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Measuring a Single Cell's Density
Scott Manalis and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology PS-OC have designed a microfluidic device to determine the mass and density of single cells. Video Courtesy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Image of Anne L. van de Ven, Ph.D.

Real-time Intravital Microscopy for Optimization of Nanotherapeutics Delivery to Tumors
Dr. Anne van de Ven of The Methodist Hospital and Research Institute PS-OC presents her work on how imaging techniques can be used to help researchers design nanoparticles to optimize the delivery of cancer therapeutics to tumors. Video courtesy of The Methodist Hospital and Research Institute PS-OC.
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The Fluid Phase of Solid Tumors: How does cancer spread?
Dr. Peter Kuhn of The Scripps Research Institute PS-OC presents his research on how cancer cells in the blood can shed light on the spread of cancer during metastasis and potentially be used to provide patients and clinicians with diagnostic and prognostic information. Video courtesy of Arizona State University PS-OC.
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Dr. Jacob Scott on "Can we stop the imaginectomies?"
Dr. Jacob Scott, of the H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center PS-OC, discusses how new perspectives and creativity is needed to help researchers find new connections to better understand and treat cancer.
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Image of Paul Davies, Ph.D.

Could physics provide the key to cancer?
Paul Davies and Roger Johnson from the Arizona State University discuss the insights and perspectives that physicists bring to cancer research with the BBC science reporter Tom Feilden.
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PBCF Logo PS-ON Bioresource Core Facility (PBCF)
The PBCF provides the Network with common stocks of an authenticated set of non-malignant and cancerous cell lines, cell culture reagents, and related standard operating protocols. Investigators outside of the Network who agree to actively participate in data sharing and integration efforts can become part of the PS-OC Network and gain access to this resource.
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money Funding Opportunites
A collection of funding opportunities at the intersection of physical sciences and cancer research from the NIH, NSF, and other funding organizations. Check regularly for new updates.
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For job opportunities in physical sciences-oncology visit the Synapse job board and the Physical Sciences in Oncology Linked In Group jobs page. Also follow @NCIPhySci on Twitter for related announcements.
Contributions from outside the field of cancer biology are the cornerstone of the Physical Sciences in Oncology initiative. Learn more about the latest ideas from thought leaders from the fields of cancer biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, modeling, engineering, and nanotechnology.
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