Center for the Convergence of Physical Sciences and Cancer Biology

Despite decades of research, cancer remains a major killer worldwide. So could progress in understanding and controlling malignancy be made by scientists from outside the established cancer research community? That fresh approach is behind a new research center at ASU – one of 12 physical sciences/oncology centers nationwide established by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute. Each center is committed to using insights from the physical sciences and engineering to bring a radical new approach to cancer research with the goal of developing new methods of arresting tumor growth and combating metastasis.

The Center for Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology at ASU is directed by Regents' Professor Paul Davies and receives funding from a five-year proposal to tackle the root causes of cancer on a conceptual level by asking questions such as:

  • How do cancer cells behave as physical objects?
  • How do the physical properties of cells change as a function of cancer progression?
  • Can cancer provide insights into the nature of life in general?
  • How do cancer cells relate to cells in their surrounding environment?
  • Can we find new ways of controlling cancer based on the forces in their microenvironment?
  • Does quantum mechanics play a role in cancer?
  • Can cancer biologists learn anything from astrobiology?

The research is complemented by an outreach program under the direction of Pauline Davies, Professor of Practice in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. Outreach includes public lectures and debates, seminars for scientists and oncologists, broadcast-quality edited podcasts, and webcasts of lectures and workshops.