Mathematical oncology blog posts

In July, The Mathematical Oncology Blog was launched. This community blog, which focuses on mathematical and computational oncology, is looking for contributors. Presently, the blog has several posts and seems to be off to an great start.

I find it convenient that links to manuscripts are included at the tops of some of the posts — such as “Quantifying Tumor Heterogeneity” by Elana Fertig and “Space Accelerates Evolution” by Jeffrey West. I am also excited to see that so far, the contributors on the blog have chosen to cover varied topics.

For instance, in “The Colors of Cancer,” Thomas Hillen uses a paint analogy to argue against the “popular myth that the pharma companies have a Golden-Bullet-drug against cancer in their drawers and refuse to use it as to maximize profits” (emphasis is Hillen’s). He then takes his argument further by explaining why “even more so, it is not even theoretically possible to have such a Golden Bullet drug against cancer.”

Taking a totally different approach and critiquing the modeling in a Nature Communications paper published in 2017, Fred Adler’s “All pithy maxims about modeling are wrong, but some are useful” on the blog begins with this:

“In science, criticism is perhaps the highest compliment, showing that we take work so seriously that we are inspired to spend time thinking about and formulating how work can be improved. It is in this spirit that I lay out some of the many issues that I have with the model of Zhang et al (2017) developed by my friends and colleagues at the Moffitt Cancer Center. This model has been widely cited as providing support for the appealing idea of adaptive therapy in prostate and other cancers, the approach of adjusting therapy continuously in response to tumor status in order to maintain long-term control by delaying or avoiding resistance. However, I have been arguing for some time this model is severely flawed in its assumptions, the way it implements those assumptions, and in the presentation and interpretation of results. I take this opportunity to present a brief outline of these flaws. How much they weaken the justification for adaptive therapy is a broader question, as is the question of whether I have wasted my career trying to write models that avoid flaws of this sort.”

Artem Kaznatcheev, who is part of the group that launched the blog, has also written posts about cancer on the Theory, Evolution and Games Group Blog at the University of Oxford. That blog is in its ninth year. Just a few of the posts Kaznatcheev has written about cancer for TheEGG include “Hamiltonian systems and closed orbits in replicator dynamics of cancer,” “Symmetry breaking and non-cell-autonomous growth rates in cancer” and “Abstracting evolutionary games in cancer.”

On the SpringerOpen blog, Jorge Gómez Tejeda Zañudo wrote “Using physics, math and models to fight cancer drug resistance.”

Know about particular blogs or topics you would like us to consider covering in upcoming posts? Reach out to us in the comments below or let us know on Twitter! You can find me @writesRCrowell.

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