New York Times, By George Johnson, August 15
For the last decade cancer research has been guided by a common vision of how a single cell, outcompeting its neighbors, evolves into a malignant tumor.
Through a series of random mutations, genes that encourage cellular division are pushed into overdrive, while genes that normally send growth-restraining signals are taken offline.
With the accelerator floored and the brake lines cut, the cell and its progeny are free to rapidly multiply. More mutations accumulate, allowing the cancer cells to elude other safeguards and to invade neighboring tissue and metastasize.
These basic principles ”” laid out 11 years ago in a landmark paper, ”œThe Hallmarks of Cancer,” by Douglas Hanahan and Robert A. Weinberg, and revisited in a follow-up article this year ”” still serve as the reigning paradigm, a kind of Big Bang theory for the field.
But recent discoveries have been complicating the picture with tangles of new detail. Cancer appears to be even more willful and calculating than previously imagined.
Also, BBC: Cancer discovery offers hope of tackling spread of disease
Scientists have discovered how cancerous cells can “elbow” their way out of tumours, offering clues for new drugs to prevent cancers spreading.
They say they have identified a protein called JAK which helps cancerous cells generate the force needed to move.
Related, The Independent: Key find could prevent deadly prostate cancer
A blood test that can distinguish between the benign and dangerous forms of prostate cancer could soon be developed following a breakthrough in understanding the complex genetics behind the most common type of cancer in men.
And… Adding caffeine to sunscreen could guard against skin cancer