Studying cancer evolution 'key to understanding disease'
22 June 2012 16:38 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
Future cancer treatments will need to take greater account of the disease's natural tendency to evolve and develop resistance to therapies, according to scientists.
Researchers from the Moffitt Cancer Centre have published an opinion piece in the Nature Reviews Cancer journal suggesting science needs to acknowledge that cancer cells, like any living organism, are subject to Darwinian principles of evolution.
This means that cancer treatments will inevitably create an adaptive landscape in which the therapy-resistant cells survive and prosper, making the emergence of resistance "predictable and inevitable".
As such, the paper suggests that medical science should begin to focus on creating adaptive treatments that take account of the rapid evolution of the disease and counteract it.
Robert Gillies, chair of the department of cancer imaging and metabolism and programme leader of experimental therapeutics at the Moffitt Cancer Centre, said: "Recognising that evolutionary dynamics are an essential component of carcinogenesis itself can lead to development of appropriate therapeutic strategies."
A study carried out by Cancer Research UK last year showed that cancer is the most feared serious illness in Britain, ahead of other life-threatening conditions such as Alzheimer's, stroke and heart disease.
Other news stories from 22/06/2012
Read more in the Zenopa News Archive
How this news is generated
Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency