Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Cancer summed up," by Robert A. Gatenby and Philip K. Maini. Nature, 23 January 2003.

The authors contend that despite the massive amount of data available relatedto oncology "clinical oncologists and tumor biologists possess virtually nocomprehensive theoretical model to serve as a framework for understanding,organizing and applying these data. Mathematical models are typically denouncedas 'too simplistic' for complex tumour phenomena. Articles in cancer journalsrarely feature equations. Clinical oncologists and those who are interested inthe mathematical modeling of cancer seldom share the same conference platform.This attitude begins in medical and graduate schools, where curricula oftenfail to include theoretical analysis or the application of quantitative methodsother than statistics. In fact medical schools have generally eliminatedmathematics from prerequisites, resulting in a generation of clinical andresearch physicians who lack expertise in or regard for biologicalmathematics." The authors go on to outline how mathematical methods might helponcology.

--- Annette Emerson

American Mathematical Society