National Cancer Institute
U.S. National Institute of Health www.cancer.gov National Cancer Institute
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FEATURED CENTER OR PROJECT

 
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute PS-OC
The Moffitt PSOC embraces the physical science research paradigm that has combined empirical studies with mathematically-based theoretical models that integrate and organize diverse data. We view cancer as an open, complex, dynamic, adaptive system. “Complex” because it contains a large number of components linked through a variety of mostly non-linear interactions. “Adaptive” because the tumor cells evolve and coevolve phenotypic strategies in response to their micro-environmental circumstance, each other, and eventually to therapy. “Dynamic” because all of the elements of the tumor, the cancer cell population sizes, adaptive strategies, and their interactions with each other and their environment change through space and time. “Open” because it continuously interacts with normal tissue in large part through its vascular network. Similar to Riparian ecosystems, blood vessels provide nutrients and growth factors to and remove metabolites from surrounding cancer population as well as providing a highway for the transport of tumor cells to distant organs. We investigate the cancer as a complex system through an integrated, multidisciplinary approach that includes physicists, applied mathematicians, cancer biologists, computer scientists, oncologists, and evolutionary biologists. Like all living systems, we assume that cancer populations are ultimately governed by Darwinian dynamics which we view as first principles. Complex systems are notoriously difficult to predict as illustrated by the famous “butterfly effect.” However, we have found that predictive models can be developed through the integration of large data sets (similar to weather forecasting), evolutionary first principles, and sophisticated computational methods that ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of the underlying dynamics. Furthermore, we have demonstrated both theoretically and empirically, that the tendency of complex systems to magnify small perturbations can be exploited to guide cancer towards less aggressive outcomes.
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NETWORK

 
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Physical Science-Oncology Network

In 2015 the National Cancer Institute continued the Physical Sciences-Oncology initiative by building a collaborative network of Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OCs) and Physical Sciences Oncology Projects (PS-OPs).

 

PHYSICAL SCIENCES-ONCOLOGY CENTERS

 
Columbia University Cancer Institute Columbia University
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Columbia University, New York, NY

Principal Investigators:
Raul Rabadan, Ph.D.
Antonio Iavarone, M.D.

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Cornell University Cornell University
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Principal Investigators:
Claudia Fischbach-Teschl
Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Principal Investigators:
Franziska Michor, Ph.D.
Eric C. Holland, M.D., Ph.D.

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H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL

Principal Investigator:
Robert A. Gatenby, M.D.
Robert J. Gillies, Ph.D.
Alexander R. A. Anderson, Ph.D.

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Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Principal Investigator:
Denis Wirtz, Ph.D.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Principal Investigators:
Forest M. White, Ph.D.
Jann Sarkaria, M.D.

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The Methodist Hospital Research Institute Houston Methodist Research Institute
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX

Principal Investigator:
Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D.

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University of Minnesota University of Minnesota
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Principal Investigators:
David Odde, Ph.D.
David Largaespada, Ph.D.
Steven Rosenfeld, M.D., Ph.D.

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Northwestern University Northwestern University
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Principal Investigators:
Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D.
Jonathan D. Licht, M.D.

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University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania
Physical Sciences-Oncology Center
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Principal Investigator:
Dennis Discher, Ph.D.

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PHYSICAL SCIENCES-ONCOLOGY PROJECTS

 
Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Cheng Zhu, Ph.D.
Dr. Michelle Krogsgaard, Ph.D.
Dr. Susan Napier Thomas, Ph.D.

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Harvard University Harvard University
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

Principal Investigator:
Jeffrey Fredberg, Ph.D.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Principal Investigator:
Roger D. Kamm, Ph.D.

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University of California, Berkeley University of California, Berkeley
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Principal Investigators:
Jay T. Groves, Ph.D.
Valerie M. Weaver, Ph.D.

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University of Michigan University of Michigan
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Gary Luker, MD
Dr. Joerg Lahann, Ph.D.

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University of Utah University of Utah
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Principal Investigator:
Orly Alter, Ph.D.

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Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University
Physical Sciences-Oncology Project
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Principal Investigators:
Lisa J. McCawley, Ph.D.
Katarzyna Rejniak, Ph.D.
Dmitry Markov Ph.D.

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Coordinating Centers

 
Coordinating Center for the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium and the Physical Sciences-Oncology Network Sage Bionetworks
Coordinating Center for the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium and the Physical Sciences-Oncology Network (U24)
Seattle, WA

Principal Investigators:
Justin Guinney, Ph.D.

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