Cancer, ever evolving

  • Dr. Carlo Maley will lead new center

    Arizona State University has been awarded more than $8.5 million over five years from the National Cancer Institute to establish the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center. The grant will establish ASU as a key player and the hub of an international network of research scientists who are dedicated to understanding cancer in an entirely new way.

    Carlo Maley will direct the new Arizona Cancer Evolution Center (ACE).

    13 Research Institutions


    ASU is one of only 13 research institutions nationwide to be selected as a research center in the consortium. ACE will bring together leading researchers from a number of institutions, including the University of Southern California; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Zurich, Barts Cancer Institute at the Queen Mary University of London; the Institute of Cancer Research in London; the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah; Stanford University; and North Carolina State University. ASU partners include the Biodesign Institute, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Beyond Center and the Department of Biomedical Informatics.


    The center’s mission is to advance the fundamental understanding of cancer and its clinical management through the development and application of evolutionary and ecological models to cancer biology. Ongoing research efforts have shown that evolutionary and ecological theory can be used to distinguish low-risk from high-risk tumors, develop novel approaches to cancer prevention, predict long-term response to therapy, and discover the fundamental biology that drives cancer. For more information, please visit ACE's website: click here.


  • Maley and his research team apply evolutionary and ecological theory to three problems in cancer:

    Neoplastic Progression

    We developing methods to measure the evolutionary dynamics among cells of a tumor that drive progression from normal tissue to malignant cancers, and methods to prevent cancer based on slowing that evolution.

    Therapeutic Resistance

    We are developing evolutionary approaches to prevent the evolution of resistance to cancer therapies.

    Peto's Paradox

    We are discovering how large, long-lived animals such as elephants and whales suppress cancer better than humans (a problem called Peto's Paradox).