Based at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida, Cancer Ecology is a small research group led by David Basanta. We are mathematical modellers who work with biologists and clinicians, trying to understand the ecology of tumors and the evolutionary dynamics of cancer progression and resistance to treatment.

Cancer and biofuels

I have recently commented how (in my particular view, especially at the theoretical level) research in some area can be used in a different one but I guess I did not expect this: Cancer research may help biofuels.

It seems that, inspired by research done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, a company called Targeted Growth is doing to corn the opposite of what oncologists do to human cancer cells taking advantage of the fact that some pathways in these two different cells are similar. The idea is to promote plant growth by overriding the genetic clock that tells the cell when to stop growing. The advantage is that plants thus modified are not transgenic (whith the load that this label carries to many consumers) and that it can lower the price of growing them as biofuels and thus promoting them as a good value alternative to oil.

Lenski et al: Balancing robustness and evolvability

Axelrod et al: Evolution of cooperation among tumor cells