Why is cancer so difficult? Understanding and measuring variability

Programme stream(s): Treatment
Programme session type(s): Educational session

Speaker: Martin Christlieb, University of Oxford, UK


Room: M1

How is it that cancer still resists us? There are a number of answers to this question, but many of them come down to variability. It is increasingly clear that cancer therapies must be tailored to the individual. In this session we will look at the sources of variability and understand the ways in which we may be able to measure what is going on and how that will impact treatment. The session will be informal with opportunities for discussion and involvement. The session will assume no prior knowledge and is suitable for anyone with an interest in knowing our enemy better.

Why is cancer so difficult?
Speaker: Martin Christlieb
Affiliation: University of Oxford


How is it that cancer still resists us?  Although survival rates are now 50% on average, the problem is not solved and some cancers have survival figures much lower than 50%.This talk will attempt to provide some answers to this question and explore some of the ways in which the huge variability of cancer could be understood.  We will look at how variability demands a more personalised treatment and how we might set about matching the right treatment to the right patient. The session will explore some of the biology of cancer and touch on the uses of MRI and PET imaging and look at other ways of using biomarkers to understand what’s driving the individual patient’s tumour so that we might respond to these drivers.The talk will assume no prior knowledge, plain English will be spoken throughout and questions encouraged.  The session will be suitable for anyone with an interest in knowing our enemy better and understanding some of the weapons we might have to combat it.