Inability to predict cancer risk through mathematical modelling

Perspective article in Science, Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1266-1267, “Genes, environment, and “bad luck”


Summary of article: Multiple papers have used mathematical modelling to simulate cancer risk profile at the population level with varying success. Specifically, attempts have been made in correlating cancer stem cell division number with cancer risk; however, can we predict cancer risk through mathematical modelling when we do not have a well grounded understanding of the factors that influence cancer, and crucially, their mathematical descriptions? The answer is no, for we do not know the mathematical basis of cancer at the macroscopic level. Yes, we can approach a future that we could, on a single cell basis, simulate the cellular processes that power life. But, we cannot at the present moment, understand the mathematical risk of cancer because building from the molecular level up, there are too many abstract levels of cancer initiation and progression that we do not understand molecularly and mathematically.


Link to original article:


Category: Interesting scientific article, cancer, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, genomics,

Tags: cancer prediction, mathematical modelling, cancer initiation, cancer progression, cancer stem cell,





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