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Home > News > An interview with Tyler Jacks on the new David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

October 17th, 2007

An interview with Tyler Jacks on the new David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

What are some example areas where this collaboration between biologists and engineers will be beneficial?

One example is an area that we call systems oriented cancer biology, where we are trying to understand the complex nature of cancer and the kinds of growth control networks that control the behavior of cancer cells. Here we're using methods from engineering, mostly with biological engineering faculty collaborators, to develop mathematical and computational models to explain why cancer cells proliferate abnormally, fail to die when they should or how they respond to therapy.

Another example is in the area of nanotechnology, where we are hoping to develop a new generation of anticancer agents which are more powerful because they can selectively target cancer cells, as opposed to normal cells. That will be enhanced still further in the future by taking advantage of new information from biological studies regarding how to shut off any gene of interest. This takes advantage of a process called RNAi, which has only been discovered in the past 10 years or so. Many members of the science side of the cancer center are actively working on this area with the goal of developing new therapeutic approaches that will really change the range of targets that we can go after. These kinds of collaborations highlight the importance of having scientists who are knowledgeable about the disease and knowledgeable about biology working with engineers who want to develop new tools, new materials, new devices, that can be used to better diagnose or better control the disease.


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