This innovative topic aims to make scientific contributions to the understanding of one of the diseases that most affect humans, and therefore has great social relevance. The approach from a physics viewpoint complements other research conducted in the context of life sciences.
According to the Ministry of Health, cancer is the second leading cause of death in Brazil. In recent decades, enormous progress has been made toward understanding the disease at a molecular level and in the technologies for detecting, diagnosing, and treating the various types of this pathology. The financial costs involved are on the order of billions of reais each year, both for treating the disease as well as the reducing economic capacity among those afflicted. There is a belief among much of the scientific community involved in the study of cancer that deeper study of the disease at the molecular level is essential for understanding and controlling complex phenomena of energy transfers, cellular mechanics, and the physics of the metastasis process, that are a common object of study in physics. It is with this conviction of the potential usefulness of the physical sciences methods in the fight against cancer that the IFT foundation intends to organize a transdisciplinary group of scientists composed of physicians, biologists, physicists, chemists, and mathematicians to generate new ideas and introduce innovations in this research. With this initiative, the IFT foundation collaborates with institutions worldwide in fostering such groups. An example is the initiative by the National Cancer Institute in the United States to cooperate with top-flight institutions in creating a collaborative network called Physical Science-Oncology Centers (PS-OCs) to explore new directives in the study of cancer. Similarly, other examples can be found in Europe and Asia.