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Arizona State University gets funding for cancer research center

PHOENIX – A new center at Arizona State University will be help researchers understand cancer in a new way.

ASU’s Biodesign Institute was awarded more than $8.5 million from the National Cancer Institute to establish the Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center.

As one of only 13 research institutions around the world selected for the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Systems Biology Consortium, ASU will become a key hub for fighting the disease.

The center at ASU will be led by Carlo Maley, a professor in the School of Life Sciences.

“It turns out that cancer research is really a sub-discipline of evolutionists,” Maley said. “Surprising, but it’s true, that evolution is the theory of cancer.”

Maley explained that the cells in a tumor that are most successful are the ones that become the most dangerous.

“It’s the survival of the fittest down there,” he said. “And those mutants that are better at surviving and reproducing will spread through the tumors and eventually become malignant and maybe kill us in the end.”

Maley said evolution impacts cancer in a lot of ways, and understanding that is key to treating the disease.

“It tells about how cancer develops, and gives us ideas about how to prevent it,” he said. “But it also tells how it evades our therapies and how we might prevent that.”

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