Event Detail Information
Physics Colloquium: "Using Physics to Outsmart Cancer: Breaking the code of the cancer-immune cyberwar"
Despite increasing understanding of cancer biology, cancer continues to elude us. The complex interplay of cancer with the immune system is probably the most challenging aspect of tumorigenesis. It is not clear how cancer can thrive in the body while evading and deceiving both innate and adaptive immune responses. Moreover, the immune system and stromal cells may even be enslaved into promoting cancer development. Evidently, the current understandings need to be re-examined, and radically new ideas ought to be explored. I will present a new picture of cancer as a society of smart communicating cells that rely on advanced communication, social networking and cooperation to grow and spread within the body as they engage in collective decision-making and in tricking the immune system. I will demonstrate how the physics way of thinking can help us understand the complexities of the cyber war between cancer and the immune system. I will focus on the role of the newly discovered exosome communication - exchange of innate nanovesicles of about 30-150 nm carrying information cargo such as segments of microRNA, mRNA and DNA that are sent to specific targeted cells - and will show how the new understanding can assist in outsmarting cancer.