Cancer evolution at TEDMED

By Carl Zimmer | May 11, 2012 9:00 am

Earlier this year, TEDMED took place in Washington DC, showcasing people doing innovative research in medicine. This year’s talks are now being loaded online, and today I was happy to see that cancer and evolution got their due. Franziska Michor of Harvard explained how the threat of cancer is a legacy of our evolution into multicellular animals, and how every case of cancer is a miniature unfolding of evolution within our own bodies. What makes Michor’s work particular exciting is that she is bringing the mathematical precision of population genetics and other aspects of evolution to the treatment of cancer.

I wrote about some of Michor’s work in my 2007 Scientific American article, “Evolved for Cancer?” (carlzimmer.com, sciam.com) I’ve also explored cancer evolution here on the Loom: “Inside Darwin’s Tumor” and “The Mere Existence of Whales.”  And you can find lots of Michor’s papers as free pdf’s on her publication page.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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