We are not alone in our struggles with cancer: all multicellular organisms grapple with this disease. This is because cancer is intricately linked to the evolution of multicellularity and to the cooperative systems that enable complex organisms to thrive. Evolution underlies the processes that lead cancer cells to over proliferate and overconsume resources and also to resist aggressive medical treatments. Athena Aktipis will discuss how an evolutionary approach to understanding and treating cancer can transform it from being a disease that threatens our lives to one that we can live with, as our multicellular ancestors have for billions of years.
Athena Aktipis is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University ,and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project. She studies cooperation across a range of systems, from sharing in humans to cancer. She has published papers on: cancer, rhythmic movement, microbes, laughter, human evolution, and maternal-fetal conflict. She is the chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting; the host of a new podcast, Zombified and the author of a new book from Princeton University Press entitled The Cheating Cell: How evolution helps us understand and treat cancer.