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Cancer is one of many biological processes in which coupled
mechanisms interact across multiple spatial and temporal scales:
from the gene to the cell to the whole organism, from nanoseconds to
years. Mathematicians are now working on the difficult task of
building practical multiscale models that capture these complex
dynamics. For example, one new cancer model uses information about
the cell cycle, genes, cellular kinetics and tissue dynamics to test
predictions of how the timing of radiation therapy might influence
its effectiveness. Another explains what might be happening at the
edge of a growing tumor. The authors talk about successes and
failures in multiscale modeling and the role it might play in
increasing our understanding of life's complexity.
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