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Research seminars

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion Research Seminars are held at 1.00 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays in the Garden Room, Library Building, St. Edmundís College. A free light buffet lunch and drinks are served from 12.30 p.m. onwards. All are welcome.

The Garden Room is on the ground floor of the Library Building which is located in the far left-hand corner as you enter the College grounds. The free buffet lunch is served there.

Michaelmas term

Cancer and Cures, Medicine and Miracles

Prof. Douglas Lauffenburger

Tuesday November 25, 2014

Garden Room, Library Building
St Edmund's College
Mount Pleasant


In the treatment of cancer and other complex diseases, most typically there is uncertainty with respect to the best course of therapy and the expectations for outcome.  Generally, even for the determined best course of treatment only a fraction of patients respond favorably and often even these patients become refractory to continuing efficacy; these phenomena are termed ‘primary’ (or innate) and ‘secondary’ (or acquired) resistance to the treatment.  A central direction of my laboratory’s research program is toward enhanced understanding of these issues: learning how to improve therapeutics, selection of the most promising patient-drug matches, and design of new combination treatments to overcome these challenges, based on our expertise in the area known as systems biology.

At the same time, as a Christian, I regularly pray for people suffering from such terrible diseases, entreating the Creator of the universe for healing via transcendent intervention.  A question for believers such as myself is how to envisage God working in these kinds of medical contexts, in relation to the biological mechanisms I perceive to be operating within pathophysiologies and therapies.

In this seminar, my intention is to first describe my perspective on aspects of current biomedical science knowledge and ideas concerning uncertainties in therapeutic approach and outcome of complex disease treatment, including example applications in cancer and immune/inflammatory pathologies.  Then second to contemplate how God’s work in sustaining His creation may be involved intrinsically as well as extrinsically.


Further information about the Speakers may be obtained by clicking on the speaker's name above.