Applying Evolutionary & Ecological Theory to Neoplastic Progression and Cancer Therapy

The Maley laboratory studies the evolution of clones during neoplastic progression of Barrett's esophagus, and the selective effects of therapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and esophageal adenocarcinoma. It is also developing the comparative biology of cancer to determine how large, long-lived organisms like whales are able to suppress cancer 1000-fold over humans. The lab applies evolutionary and ecological theory to neoplastic progression and cancer therapy to modulate the evolution of neoplastic cells, thereby preventing cancer and its relapse. Our driving questions include:

  1. Can we measure the rate of somatic evolution to predict which patients are likely to progress to cancer and relapse after therapy?
  2. How can we slow the rate of somatic evolution in order to prevent cancer and relapse after therapy?
  3. What causes resistance to cancer therapy and how can we prevent that resistance?

Recent Publications

Liu Z, Venkatesh SS, Maley CC
Sequence space coverage, entropy of genomes and the potential to detect non-human DNA in human samples.
BMC genomics, [epublish] 9: 509.
Pepper JW, Sprouffske K, Maley CC
Animal cell differentiation patterns suppress somatic evolution.
PLoS computational biology, Dec-01-2007; 312: e250.
Merlo LM, Pepper JW, Reid BJ, Maley CC
Cancer as an evolutionary and ecological process.
Nature reviews. Cancer, Dec-01-2006; 612: 924-35.  Epub 2006 Nov 16.
Maley CC, Galipeau PC, Finley JC, Wongsurawat VJ, Li X, Sanchez CA, Paulson TG, Blount PL, Risques RA, Rabinovitch PS, Reid BJ
Genetic clonal diversity predicts progression to esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Nature genetics, Apr-01-2006; 384: 468-73.  Epub 2006 Mar 26.
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