ARLINGTON, VA, JUNE 1, 2012: A panel of the United States’ top experts on the applications of physical science and engineering tools to life sciences and oncology will present their findings from a study tour of top European labs in a workshop to be held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on June 12, 2012.
With sponsorship from the National Cancer Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the seven-member WTEC panel recently toured more than 25 labs in Europe, including sites in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The study was organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. (WTEC) as one of a series of over 70 such assessments of international research.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In 1971 President Nixon declared war on cancer and much effort has been invested in learning more about this complex system of diseases, and in developing treatments. However, despite considerable progress in the treatment of certain forms of cancer, progress in reducing mortality by conventional biomedical approaches has been disappointing. Thus, in addition to new biomedical approaches, such as those based on the human genome, some researchers are focusing on how the physical sciences can help.
While the field of cancer biology has historically been dominated by researchers with classical training in the basic and clinical life sciences, the field has more recently expanded to include physical and engineering scientists, whose background and expertise are complementary to those possessed by life scientists, leading to the recognition that significant advancements in the fundamental understanding of cancer diseases are possible through multidisciplinary research that involves experts in chemistry, physics, materials science, and several engineering disciplines.
In addition to gauging the relative positions of nations and assessing general progress in the field, the panel will discuss their findings in such particular areas as: cell and tissue mechanics, the microenvironment, dynamics, transport, devices utilizing new diagnostic principles, and information and complexity. The panel will also be issuing a written final report later this year.
The WTEC APHELION panel is chaired by Dr. Paul Janmey of the University of Pennsylvania. Also on the panel are Sharon Gerecht of Johns Hopkins University, Cynthia Reinhart-King of Cornell University, Parag Mallick of Stanford University, Owen McCarty of Oregon Health & Science University, Lance Munn of Harvard Medical School, and Daniel Fletcher of the University of California at Berkeley. Serving as consultants to the panel are Antonio Tito Fojo of the National Cancer Institute, and Denis Wirtz of Johns Hopkins University.
The June 12 workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Building 60 at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The workshop is free, but space is limited so registration is required.
For more information and registration, please visit the study’s webpage at http://www.wtec.org/aphelion.
The World Technology Evaluation Center is the nation’s leading organization in conducting international technology assessments via peer review. WTEC has conducted over 70 such studies since 1989 under grants from a variety of Federal agencies. For more information, visit http://www.wtec.org.