Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers
With the investment of Recovery Act funds, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded multiple institutional grants to establish 12 Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) as part of its Physical Sciences in Oncology initiative to better understand the physical laws and principles that shape and govern the emergence and behavior of cancer. The goal of the five year initiative is to engage trans-disciplinary scientific teams from fields of physics, mathematics, chemistry and engineering to examine new, non-traditional approaches to cancer research.
Why is the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers Program Receiving Recovery Act Funding?
NCI has identified the PS-OCs program as a Signature Initiative because it seeks to provide answers to the questions of why some people develop cancer and others do not, and once cancer develops, how it grows and what can stop it. The program aims to help scientists better understand cancer's causal pathways and identify potential targets for drugs.
Engaging the nation's top scientists from unrelated fields to explore the root causes of cancer may enable the translation of that knowledge into effective cancer prevention, detection and treatment programs. The PS-OCs program directly supports NCI's mission to not simply fund research but to be a convener of scientists from government, academia and industry to change cancer's future and to constantly expand science's boundaries into unchartered areas.
How will Recovery Act Funding Impact the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers Program?
Each of the awarded PS-OCs have convened several groups of experts that, individually and together, will support and nurture a trans-disciplinary environment and promote research that: (1) originates and tests novel, non-traditional physical-sciences based approaches to understand and control cancer; (2) generates independent sets of physical measurements and integrates them with existing knowledge of cancer; and (3) develops and evaluates approaches from the physical sciences to provide a comprehensive and dynamic picture of cancer.
Ultimately, through coordinated development and testing of novel approaches to studying the cancer processes, the network of PS-OCs are expected to generate new bodies of knowledge, in order to identify and define critical aspects of physics, chemistry, and engineering that operate at all levels in cancer processes.