Navigation Links
Conceptualizing cancer cells as ancient 'toolkit'
Date:2/7/2011

TEMPE, Ariz. Despite decades of research and billions of dollars, cancer remains a major killer, with an uncanny ability to evade both the body's defenses and medical intervention. Now an Arizona State University scientist believes he has an explanation.

"Cancer is not a random bunch of selfish rogue cells behaving badly, but a highly-efficient pre-programmed response to stress, honed by a long period of evolution," claims professor Paul Davies, director of the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at ASU and principal investigator of a major research program funded by the National Cancer Institute designed to bring insights from physical science to the problem of cancer.

In a paper published online Feb. 7 in the UK Institute of Physics journal Physical Biology, Davies and Charles Lineweaver from the Australian National University draw on their backgrounds in astrobiology to explain why cancer cells deploy so many clever tricks in such a coherent and organized way.

They say it's because cancer revisits tried-and-tested genetic pathways going back a billion years, to the time when loose collections of cells began cooperating in the lead-up to fully developed multicellular life. Dubbed by the authors "Metazoa 1.0," these early assemblages fell short of the full cell and organ differentiation associated with modern multicellular organisms like humans.

But according to Davies and Lineweaver, the genes for the early, looser assemblages Metazoa 1.0 are still there, forming an efficient toolkit. Normally it is kept locked, suppressed by the machinery of later genes used for more sophisticated body plans. If something springs the lock, the ancient genes systematically roll out the many traits that make cancer such a resilient form of life and such a formidable adversary.

"Tumors are a re-emergence of our inner Metazoan 1.0, a throwback to an ancient world when multicellular life was simpler," says Davies. "In that sense, cancer is an accident waiting to happen."

If Davies and Lineweaver are correct, then the genomes of the simplest multicellular organisms will hide clues to the way that cancer evades control by the body and develops resistance to chemotherapy. And their approach suggests that a limited number of genetic pathways are favored by cells as they become progressively genetically unstable and malignant, implying that cancer could be manageable by a finite suite of drugs in the coming era of personalized medicine.

"Our new model should give oncologists new hope because cancer is a limited and ultimately predictable atavistic adversary," says Lineweaver. "Cancer is not going anywhere evolutionarily; it just starts up in a new patient the way it started up in the previous one."

The authors also believe that the study of cancer can inform astrobiology. "It's not a one-way street," says Davies. "Cancer can give us important clues about the nature and history of life itself."


'/>"/>

Contact: Carol Hughes
carol.hughes@asu.edu
480-965-6375
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Risk of cancer increases with exposure to low-dose radiation
2. Protein may be key to new treatment in a childhood cancer
3. Urine-sniffing dogs: Early detection of prostate cancer
4. Heart Scans May Raise Cancer Risk, Study Finds
5. Breast Cancer Treatment May Lead to Hip Fracture
6. Improving care for bowel cancer patients
7. Cancer on the Rise in Developing Countries: Report
8. Report says economic development could change worldwide face of cancer
9. New induced stem cells may unmask cancer at earliest stage
10. Healthier Lifestyles May Prevent 340,000 U.S. Cancers a Year: Study
11. Destined for disease: Breast cancer mutation regulates cell fate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping ... fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness ... size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June ... , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to ... is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as ... City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic ... many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping ... released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida attorneys are recognized ... this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers practicing within the ... this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark D. Bloom, Burt ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ITASCA, Ill. , June 23, 2016  In a startling ... states are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan ... , a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the ... rating to only four states – Kentucky , ... and Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , a ... its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... on June 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia ... electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has ... Horizon Award . One of 12 suppliers ... for its support of Premier members through exceptional local ... and commitment to lower costs. ... of our outstanding customer service from Premier," says ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: