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New book on cancer research highlights discoveries by physicists

New book on cancer research highlights discoveries by physicists

April 8, 2021 at 1:03pm

An FIU physicist has published a book on cancer research conducted by physicists that provides new information in the long-term battle against the deadly disease. 

The Physics of Cancer: Research Advances, edited by Professor Bernard Gerstman, describes discoveries physicists have made on the mechanical and chemical properties of cancer cells and new physics-based approaches for understanding the complex interactions between cancer cells in tumors.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted the cancer death rate fell over a 20-year period from 1999 to 2019, Gerstman notes treating cancer is difficult because of its complexity.

“Tumors evolve and spread in response to internal and external factors that involve feedback mechanisms and non-linear behavior,” he said “Investigations of the properties of the individual units, biological cells, are necessary but not sufficient. In addition, the nonlinear interactions among cells, and between cells and their environment require investigations that are equally crucial for developing a sufficiently detailed understanding of the system's emergent phenomenology to be able to eventually control the behavior.”

Controlling the biological system's behavior will mean the ability to treat and cure cancer, Gerstman added.

Gerstman’s own research has resulted in fundamental discoveries about the molecules of life, and also the manner in which laser energy can damage and destroy living cells. Collaborations with fellow FIU physicist Prem Chapagain also has practical applications in developing molecular techniques for combatting viruses and they are working with a pharmaceutical company in developing a potentially ground-breaking class of antibiotics. Gerstman is also Editor-In-Chief of the Springer-Nature book series: Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering.