News & Events

Good genes: Researchers break down DNA of world’s largest mammals to discover how whales defy the cancer odds

May 9, 2019

Scientists know that age and weight are risk factors in the development of cancer. That should mean that whales, which include some of the largest and longest-lived animals on Earth, have an outsized risk of developing cancer. But they don’t. Instead, they are less likely to develop or die of this enigmatic disease. The same is true of elephants and dinosaurs’ living relatives, birds. Marc Tollis, an assistant professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems at...

Cactus garden plants new ideas for understanding cancer

April 2, 2019

“From the very beginning I had this idea that cancer isn’t something I need to fight or have to try to beat. It’s a natural thing, and I have to learn to live with it.” When Kevin Moore joined the cancer garden project team, he was dealing with stomach cancer. A landscape architect with the Moore/Swick partnership, in Tempe, Ariz., Moore is now cancer-free. Moore explained that while working on the project, he learned that “cancer is a natural thing. Part of my body that went...

PBS’ 'Catalyst' shines the spotlight on Biodesign researchers’ stories

March 18, 2019

Arizona State University researchers work all over the world, from Antarctica to Mexico, and Tucson to Pasadena. Now, a group of journalists and storytellers at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is chronicling their research for a science documentary series for PBS. “Catalyst” returned to Arizona PBS Wednesday, Feb. 13 for a highly anticipated second season, featuring host Vanessa Ruiz, a Cronkite professor of practice and former...

Probing life’s simplest organism to understand the complexity of cancer

February 18, 2019

The simplest multicellular animal known to man (Trichoplax adhaerens) has no nervous system, no muscle tissue, and, most importantly, no history of cancer. Typically, cancer is a disease afflicting multicellular organisms that spreads as cells grow and divide. Arizona State University researchers are looking to these small creatures to learn more about how they evade the deadly disease, and the implications this has for other multicellular animals. At the Biodesign Center for...

Discovering New Cancer Treatments By Studying Cacti

December 12, 2018

What can a type of cactus tell us about cancer, and treating the disease? Two researchers at ASU believe it's a lot. Carlo Maley and Athena Aktipis have helped set up a cactus garden on the school’s Tempe campus — but the garden doesn’t feature the kinds of specimens you might expect to see. Instead, they’re plants with kinds of malformations on them. Maley is an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and director of the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center. Aktipis is...

National Cancer Institute awards Carlo Maley $10.8M grant

November 1, 2018

When Carlo Maley first delved into his studies on the evolution of disease, he was struck with how little the field had been explored. He decided that his skills in evolution and computational biology would be well-suited for the job. “I went to PubMed and looked for all papers that had both cancer and evolution in the title … and I only came up with a handful of hits. It became clear that evolution is fundamental to the basic science of cancer, which explains why people have such a...

Calling all Deadheads: ASU hosts Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting

October 10, 2018

We see it in movies, TV shows and books, but we rarely see it in science – the zombie apocalypse may be nearer than we think, and an ASU-hosted event intends to address that. On Oct. 18-21, ASU will host the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting, an interdisciplinary gathering blending the arts and sciences to address the provocative, ever-engaging topic of zombies. According to the website, a zombie is defined as “an entity that is fully or partially under control of another entity,” a...

Biodesign Institute researcher interviewed on PBS' Arizona Horizon

August 8, 2018

Carlo Maley, a Biodesign Institute researcher and a professor in the School of Life Sciences, was recently interviewed on Arizona PBS' Arizona Horizon. Host Ted Simons talked to Maley about the new Arizona Cancer Evolution Center, which is a new center that aims to attack cancer through groundbreaking, interdisciplinary approaches, including looking at cancer through an evolutionary lens. Arizona State University researchers received an $8.5 million grant from the National Cancer...

National Cancer Institute selects Arizona State University to lead revolutionary research in cancer

June 6, 2018

Arizona State University has been awarded more than $8.5 million over five years from the National Cancer Institute to establish the Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center. The grant will establish ASU as a key player and the hub of an international network of research scientists who are dedicated to understanding cancer in an entirely new way. “The establishment of the Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center at ASU by the National Cancer Institute positions the university at the forefront of new...

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

February 23, 2018

Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin’s theory—are the means by which organisms gain an advantageous foothold or pass into oblivion.  In a new study, researchers at ASU’s Biodesign Institute led an international team to explore how evolutionary processes guide the pathways of cells. Their results, which appear in the advanced...