PS-OC Archive Seminars

A New Definition of Information: its Origins and Implications for Cancer

Definitions of information are often circular in nature. I present a new definition, rooted in the second law of thermodynamics, based on the requirements of replication and selection. The definition is remarkably simple, yet general enough to apply to both living and non-living systems. Crucially, it provides a scenario for the origin of information while predicting an increase of information with time. The underlying requirements for the continued existence and inevitable growth of information also imply that cancer is an inherent outcome of information’s existence. Much of this work was carried out in collaboration with Stirling Colgate.

The Fluid Phase of Solid Tumors: How does cancer spread?

The fluid phase of solid tumors is a clinical tool in personalized cancer care and an emerging research tool in basic science cancer discoveries. The Scripps Physics Oncology Center developed a set of tools for probing the fluid phase. The leading tool is the HD-CTC assay with which we are undertaking a series of clinical studies investigating the metastatic pathways in cancer patients. We are now coupling the experimental data with a theoretical framework for a more complete description of the disease progression.

LKB1 and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Can understanding the functions of the LKB1 tumor suppressor lead us to new treatments?

Lung cancer, and more specifically non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is the primary contributor to cancer related mortalities within the United States and accounts for the majority of lung cancers compared to the other subtypes. Due to limited choices in treatment (surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation), significant work has identified unique genetic alterations within NSCLC tumors in hopes of utilizing this information to develop improved treatment modalities.

Proton beam therapy-Where we are and where we are heading – Martin Bues PhD, Mayo Clinic, Arizona

Mayo Clinic is building proton therapy facilities in Rochester, Minnesota, and Phoenix, Arizona. These machines represent the state of the art of so-called “Bragg peak therapy,” in which the majority of the energy carried in a beam of charged particles is delivered in a small volume of tissue close to the penetration depth – a phenomenon discovered by William Bragg in 1903. In this talk I shall discuss recent advances in this technology, and how best to apply it to cancer patients.

Genes and the Microenviroment: Two Faces of Who We Are

The work from Dr. Bissell’s laboratory in the last three decades has led a field that is now central to the current recognition and acceptance of the importance of context/microenvironment and extracellular matrix (ECM) in regulation of gene expression,; and underscored the relationship of the ECM and microenvironment to the plasticity of both the differentiated state and tumors.

From Social Intelligence of Bacteria to Cyber-war on Cancer

Cancer continues to elude us. Metastasis, relapse and drug resistance are all still poorly understood and clinically insuperable. Evidently, the prevailing paradigms need to be re-examined and out-of-the-box ideas ought to be explored. Recently, has become acknowledged that transformative convergence of physical sciences with life sciences can bring forth new perspectives for addressing major questions and challenges relating to cancer. Drawing upon recent discoveries demonstrating the parallels between collective behaviors of bacteria and cancer, I will present a new picture of cancer as a society of smart communicating cells motivated by the realization of bacterial social intelligence.

3-D Tissue Engineering Under Low Fluid Sheer Forces: Predictive Human Surrogate Models to Probe the Links Between Cell Function and Disease

Appropriately simulating the three dimensional (3-D) environment in which organs and tissues normally function is necessary for development of in vitro cultures that realistically resemble in vivo tissues and organs. For these reasons, the availability of reliable, reproducible 3-D organotypic cell culture models are being increasingly exploited for the meaningful dissection of human disease mechanisms, including those with an inflammation-mediated etiology, like infectious disease and cancer.