CANCER SYSTEMS BIOLOGY

Scientists are using engineering and mathematical tools to build models for cancer research. These approaches hold great promise to accelerate development of new cancer therapies and eventually design the optimal treatment for every cancer patient.

Systems biology cancer prevention slider

PREVENTING CANCER

FROM RECURRING


Sometimes tumors seem to respond well to treatment, only to grow back. Systems biology researchers use models and algorithms to study how certain genes enable drug resistance.


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Systems biology predicting potency slider

PREDICTING THE POTENCY

OF CANCER TREATMENTS


Researchers are now able to study tumors and determine which genes are disrupted by cancer. Systems biology researchers are constructing maps of cancer cells that can help predict patient response to drug therapies.


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Working to avert side effects slider

WORKING TO AVERT

SIDE EFFECTS


Cancer drugs can harm normal cells, causing unpleasant side effects. Scientists are designing mathematical models to determine which drugs and drug combinations effectively treat cancer with minimal side effects.


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Questions for Systems Biologists*

*Acknowledgement: Inspiration for this website was conceived in May 2013 at the Education and Outreach Committee (EOC) Workshop of the Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICPB) of the National Institute of Health (NIH). These questions and answers were jointly developed by the EOC members. For more information on ICBP and EOC, go to: https://icbp.nci.nih.gov/education-and-outreach

How will my cancer respond to treatment?

Accurately predicting which patients will respond to specific cancer therapies is a major goal for systems... READ MORE

Will the cancer come back?

Unfortunately, some cancers that initially respond well to therapy and shrink find ways to evade treatment... READ MORE

Can new treatments be effective while minimizing side effects?

While some anti-cancer therapies are effective at killing cancer cells, many also interfere with normal... READ MORE

Can systems biology accelerate development of cancer therapies?

While many effective anti-cancer therapies exist, only a small fraction of cancer patients currently... READ MORE