The field of cancer research is intricate and dynamic. While parts of the principles governing it are understood, more traditional approaches like molecular biology and epigenetics need to be combined with mathematical models to pinpoint its origins and design therapeutic approaches. These are the new capabilities needed to comprehend the nature of the oncological process and why tumor cells transform, spread, and resist to therapeutic interventions.
Cancer is not a unidimensional disease but rather a pathology of phenotypic plasticity, in which epigenetics serves as the "grammar of the genome" and is modified by the environment, food, and age of every single individual. According to the mathematical concept of stochasticity, which refers to the idea that the unpredictability of a process affects the predictability of the result, the combination of epigenetics and mathematics provides a new method for understanding the plasticity of cancer.
To understand the evolution of cancer, oncology experts employ the stochasticity described by Einstein, who applied it to the movement of particles floating in a liquid or gas. Epigenetics, mechanisms of cancer initiation, and mathematical and stochastic models are all related. By integrating mathematics and biology, it is possible to develop drugs able to inhibit tumor spread by reducing epigenetic entropy, as well as more potent cancer treatments which can reduce the likelihood of resistance to therapy.
We may understand why the risk of cancer increases with age by mathematically estimating how epigenetic entropy increases with age and its connection with DNA damage. For instance, by examining the mathematical evolution of cancer, we might be able to test out new drugs that can stop the spread of metastatic disease and, possibly one day, reverse the entire process.
Professor Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D. is the Founder and Director of Sbarro Health Research Organization based at the College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia. Connect with him on his social media channels to follow more updates: (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)