Embracing debate on how cancers develop: Without the answer, effective therapies remain elusive
©2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers
Scientists invariably conduct debates in private about whether a body of scientific work or thought is worthy of presentation to the community. Behind closed doors scientists and editors tussle over when is the right time to publish their work. In a disruptive departure from this norm, Disruptive Science and Technology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers, has launched a Debate section in which ideas and counterpoints can be debated in public. The Journal seeks not to sway opinions but rather to inform them. It is fitting that the first series of debates is focused on the root cause of cancer.
Most cancer researchers would likely agree that not understanding how cancer develops is a major obstacle in the ongoing "war on cancer." However, in some scientists' minds the mechanism that underlies tumor development is not settled science. Under the Somatic Mutation Theory, cancers arise as a consequence of changes to DNA, while the Tissue Organization Field Theory states that they result from disruptions in normal cell communication needed to correctly form tissues. The initial debate explores these two major theories of cancer development in Disruptive Science and Technology, and the articles are available free on the Journal website at http://www.liebertpub.com/dst.
Stuart Baker, ScD, National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, MD), initiates the debate with the article, "Paradoxes in Carcinogenesis Should Spur New Avenues of Research: An Historical Perspective." Dr. Baker describes "paradigm instability" between the two main explanations of how cancer develops— the more the dominant theory is investigated without a conclusive resolution, the more proponents think they are getting closer to understanding and the more others think the evidence is pointing to an alternative theory. Dr. Baker discusses paradoxes— experimental and observational results that are not fully explained by one theory but which make sense under the other. He proposes focusing more research on explaining these paradoxes.
Vincent Wilson, PhD, Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA), emphasizes that cancer develops as a result of both genetic and environmental factors in "Carcinogenesis as the Sum of Its Parts." Regardless of the specific causative event, multiple changes are required for an individual cancer cell and a tumor to develop. He suggests either combining the two main proposals for the mechanism of carcinogenesis, or subdividing cancer into subgroups developing specific hypotheses to explain the cause of each type.
Eric Lagasse, PharmD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (PA), argues in "Battling Cancer: In the End What Matters the Most?" that while the initial event resulting in cancer is not yet clear, pointing out yet another cancer formation theory (Cancer Stem Cell Theory), cancer treatment can be improved by tailoring therapy to target the genetic characteristics of a patient's most aggressive tumor cells and to continue to monitor and modify treatment as needed to overcome drug resistance.
"The mechanisms underlying cancer formation are complex and not completely understood, even after some victories in the 'war on cancer,'" says Editor-in-Chief Alan J. Russell, PhD, Highmark Distinguished Career Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. "Drs. Baker, Wilson, and Lagasse present different points of view as to the most likely explanations for carcinogenesis. A deeper understanding of cancer mechanisms is important for designing therapeutics and formulating new research questions."
Provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
- Controversial TOFT theory of cancer versus SMT model: Authors do battle in BioEssays Apr 15, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Protein associated with childhood cancer alters the structure of DNA, leading to cancer Nov 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers prove key cancer theory Dec 07, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Mathematics reveals genetic pattern of tumor growth Jun 21, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- New anti-tumor cell therapy strategies are more effective Oct 25, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Older prostate cancer patients with other underlying health conditions should think twice before committing to surgery or radiation therapy for their cancer, according to a multicenter study led by researchers in the UCLA ...
Cancer 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy has become the most commonly used type of radiation in prostate cancer, but research from the University of North Carolina suggests that the therapy may not be more effective than older, ...
Cancer 14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
Cancer 14 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (12) | 2 |
(HealthDay)—For young adults needing either a chest or abdominopelvic computed tomography (CT), the short-term risk of death from underlying morbidity is greater than the long-term risk of radiation-induced ...
Cancer 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
In a new study described in the journal Oncogene, researchers reveal how a key player in cell growth, immunity and the inflammatory response can be transformed into a primary contributor to tumor growth.
Cancer 21 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—A three-year multinational study has tracked and detailed the progression of Huntington's disease (HD), predicting clinical decline in people carrying the HD gene more than 10 years before ...
21 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
No new human cases of the H7N9 virus have been recorded in China for a week, national health authorities said, for the first time since the outbreak began in March.
54 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A Nobel prize-winning scientist Tuesday played down "shock-horror scenarios" that a new virus strain will emerge with the potential to kill millions of people.
1 hour ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when present during pregnancy, reliably predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression.
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.
11 hours ago | 4.6 / 5 (13) | 5 |
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |