News Release

Engineering cancer’s end: Moffitt scientists say bioengineering will change our ability to research and treat cancer

Commentary in Cancer Cell discusses why this area of science is the future

Peer-Reviewed Publication

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

TAMPA, Fla  — Bioengineering is revolutionizing cancer research, and Moffitt Cancer Center is at the forefront of this transformative movement. Moffitt is the first National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with a dedicated bioengineering department. This area of science integrates engineering and physical sciences with oncology to change how we understand and treat this complex disease. In a new commentary published in Cancer Cell, W. Gregory Sawyer, Ph.D., and Elsa R. Flores, Ph.D., share their visionary framework to accelerate cancer discovery and therapy breakthroughs through bioengineering.

“Cancer’s complexity has been a formidable obstacle for researchers,” said Sawyer, chair of Moffitt’s Department of Bioengineering. “Traditional methods often struggle to capture the intricate interplay between cancer cells, the immune system and the surrounding environment. Cancer engineering offers a unique perspective by integrating these diverse fields, creating a powerful platform to develop next-generation solutions.”

Cancer engineering blends 12 key fields, including system dynamics, nanomaterials, robotics, and biofabrication, to tackle cancer from all angles. This powerful platform could lead to advancements in early detection with microfluidic devices and advanced imaging techniques. Additionally, nanomaterials engineered on a microscopic level could revolutionize drug delivery by transporting medications directly to cancer cells with minimal impact on healthy tissues.

The potential doesn’t stop there. 3D bioprinting technology offers the potential to create customized tumor models, allowing researchers to test drug efficacy and personalize treatment plans for individual patients. Sophisticated mathematical modeling, informed by engineering principles, could provide a deeper understanding of cancer’s intricate biological processes, paving the way for developing more effective therapies.

“The possibilities unlocked by cancer engineering are truly exciting,” said Flores, associate center director of Basic Science at Moffitt. “We envision more universities and cancer centers following Moffitt’s lead and creating dedicated cancer engineering programs to foster collaboration and accelerate progress in the fight against cancer.”

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 57 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube



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