Prof. Fischbach publishes OpEd on Plea for Cancer Research
Professor Claudia Fischbach of Cornell’s Department of Biomedical Engineering has published a forceful online opinion piece on the website of the Pacific Standard magazine, which can be read here. Fischbach’s essay builds a convincing case for greater funding of interdisciplinary collaborations between biologists and engineers in the fight against cancer.
Fischbach argues that biologists are approaching the limits of what they can learn about cancer by studying cancer cells isolated in petri dishes. The next advances in cancer research will be made, says Fischbach, by studying cancer cells where they develop and metastasize. While biologists have made great strides over the years in advancing our understanding of cancer, Fischbach says “most cancer labs have ignored the physical context in which cancer cells develop because analyzing and recreating the physical properties of tumors is difficult and requires expertise cancer biologists do not have.”
In her essay, Fischbach recognizes that there are some structural impediments to collaborations between biologists and engineers, but that these hurdles must not be allowed to get in the way of further research. “The past four decades have taught us that cancer will not go down without a fight,” writes Fischbach. “To beat it, we need to be nimble, resourceful, and creative. Teamwork between biological and physical sciences is essential.”