By Matin Durrani
Medical physicists have made – and continue to make – many valuable contributions to the treatment, diagnosis and imaging of cancer using X-rays, magnetic fields, protons and other subatomic particles. But some physicists are trying to tackle cancer through a very different approach. Rather than seeing cancer purely in terms of genetic mutations, these researchers are instead examining the physical parameters that control how cancer cells grow, evolve and spread around the body.
Find out more by downloading your free PDF copy of the July 2013 special issue of Physics World on the “physics of cancer”.
If you’re already a member of the Institute of Physics, you can access the entire new issue online free through the digital version of the magazine or by downloading the Physics World app onto your iPhone, iPad or Android device, available from the App Store and Google Play respectively. The digital issue also contains a series of special Physics World videos on fighting cancer with physics. But because we feel this special issue will be of wide general interest, for a limited time you can download the entire special issue free in PDF form via this link.
Among the articles on offer are:
• Breast cells in a spin: Learn how rotation could play a role in making human breast cells turn malignant.
• An electrical misunderstanding: See if cancer cells be made to act normally simply by adjusting their electrical polarization.
• Exposing cancer’s deep evolutionary roots: Find out why Paul Davies thinks cancer could be an ancient genetic program with roots in our multicellular past.
• Killing me softly: Explore why the tip of an atomic-force microscope can test the mechanical properties of cancer cells
• Alice2007: This month’s Lateral Thought offers a poignant reflection on just why research into cancer is so important.
Elsewhere in the issue, we also look at how the J-PARC lab in Japan has responded to a radiation leak and examine Korea’s ambitious $5bn plan to create 50 new institutes dedicated to fundamental research in an interview with Se-Jung Oh, president of the Institute for Basic Science.
Other articles include Brian Weeden on “Tackling space debris head on”, Robert Crease on “The Treiman effect” and reviews by Richard Corfield of Neil Shubin’s new book The Universe Within and by Liz Kalaugher on The White Planet by Jean Jouzel, Claude Lorius and Dominique Raynaud. Plus don’t miss “Mixing physics and engineering” by Steven Lawler who works in the naval-nuclear division of Rolls-Royce and this month’s Once a physicist is a great interview with composer and musician at Princeton University Steven Mackey.
Remember that if you’re not yet a member, you can join the Institute as an IOPimember for just £15, €20 or $25 a year. Being an IOPimember gives you a full year’s access to Physics World both online and through the apps.