University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Breast Oncology Program Seminar

January 17, 2018, 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Mount Zion
2340 Sutter Street
Lurie Seminar Room
San Francisco, CA 94143

Sui Huang, MD, PhD, Institute for Systems Biology   >view speaker profile

Title: From Theory to Therapy: Why cancer treatment backfires and what we can do

Abstract: A major challenge in cancer treatment is the phenotype plasticity of cancer cells, manifest in the non-genetic heterogeneity of clonal cancer cell populations. In addition, the cell population is a robust ecosystem because of cell-cell interactions. The dynamics at these two levels –cell state and cell population state– afford the tumor enormous resilience. In fact treatment that does not eradicate every single tumor cell will actually stimulate the surviving cancer cells to enter a more malignant phenotypic state – a response that is promoted by the dead cells generated by the therapy itself. In this seminar I will explain this phenomenon in terms of first principles of non-linear dynamics, a theory for understanding robust complex systems that has evaded cancer biologists’ attention for too long. I will also show preclinical data of a new therapeutic modality that overcomes the cancers’ central survival strategy: “What does not kill me makes me stronger."

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