Cancer and Complexity: Questions for a New Millenium

Institution: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Investigator(s): Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, Ph.D. - G. Shyamala Harris, Ph.D. - Mina Bissell, Ph.D. -
Award Cycle: 2000 (Cycle VI) Grant #: 6MB-0144 Award: $11,760
Award Type: Joining Forces Conference Award
Research Priorities
Biology of the Breast Cell>Biology of the Normal Breast: the starting point

Final Report (2000)
Biology, and its application in medicine, has traditionally been an individual pursuit that has led to a reductionist view of complex processes. This has served well to identify the important components of biological systems and to learn great detail about the mechanics; however some biologists would like to integrate this information into a truly dynamic view of the processes that maintain normal cells and are disturbed in cancer. Furthermore, we now have the opportunity to follow many interrelated events using emerging technologies such as microarray technology. The challenge is coming to terms with this abundance of information and making it useful and understandable.

The goal of our workshop was to take a closer look at how breast cancer research can benefit from this burgeoning information age, to go beyond cataloging the components of cancer cells and to begin creating dynamic models of how cells, both normal and malignant, behave in the breast. Our goals were to increase awareness of models for integrative biology, to highlight tools that will bring diverse disciplines such as biology and computational sciences together, and to initiate a discussion that will provide the opportunity for future collaborative studies. Thus the workshop focused on the following topics: