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Medicine Science

New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the kill-all-the-cells!-oh-wait dept.
cranky_chemist sends this report from NPR: "Cancer simply may be here to stay. Researchers at Kiel University, the Catholic University of Croatia and other institutions discovered that hydra — tiny, coral-like polyps that emerged hundreds of millions of years ago — form tumors similar to those found in humans. Which suggests that our cells' ability to develop cancer is "an intrinsic property" that has evolved at least since then — way, way, way before we rallied our forces to try to tackle it, said Thomas Bosch, an evolutionary biologist at Kiel University who led the study, published in Nature Communications in June (abstract) To get ahead of cancer, he said, "you have to interfere with fundamental pathways. It's a web of interactions," he said. "It's very difficult to do." That's why cancer "will probably never be completely eradicated."
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New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

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  • Headlines (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schneidafunk (795759) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:24PM (#47723585)

    This seems like an overly dramatized article based on one sentence. Obviously there's been progress in cancer treatments and some cures for specific cancers.

    FTA: One strategy might be to against these cells. Yervoy, a drug that does just that, eliminated melanoma in — and counting. An infusion of Yervoy and a similar drug, nivolumab, has kept some lung cancer patients disease-free for about six years so far. "Their cancer hasn't come back yet. It might never come back," Ben Creelan, an oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center. "I think it's the most exciting thing in decades."

  • by clawsoon (748629) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:50PM (#47723807)

    It's too bad that this very interesting research - cancer in hydra! - is being overshadowed by sweeping statements about cancer. There are a number of species which experience little to no cancer, from naked mole rats to some whale species. There are a number of different ways that different species reduce or prevent cancer, from additional cell-death signalling via hyaluronan [nature.com] in naked mole rats to additional cell-death signalling via p53 pathways [nih.gov] in blind mole rats to replicative senescence [wiley.com] in many large mammals, to who-knows-what in eastern grey squirrels and elephants and whales.

    The cancer-fighting idea in each case is something that should be near and dear to systems administrators: Redundancy. The more cell-death pathways there are, the harder it is for a series of mutations to result in immortal cancer cells. Redundant Arrays of Immortality Suppression, if you will.

    This doesn't mean that we'll ever get rid of cancer in humans, mind you, because evolving a new cancer-prevention signalling pathway takes a couple of million years. But the fact that hydra get cancer doesn't have anything to do with whether we'll ever get rid of cancer in humans, either.

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