Medical research

A faster way to make antibody-drug conjugates

A USC School of Pharmacy-led team has engineered a new, faster way to make drugs that precisely target malignant cells—while leaving healthy tissue undamaged—that could lead the way to better treatments for numerous types ...

Medical research

'Terminator' protein halts cancer-causing cellular processes

Essential processes in mammalian cells are controlled by proteins called transcription factors. For example, the transcription factor HIF-1 is triggered by a low-oxygen situation to cause the cell to adapt to decreased oxygen.

Oncology & Cancer

Unique cells found in lung cancer patients may predict survival

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and most who are diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive five years. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type where tumor cells shed ...

Oncology & Cancer

New insight into cancer drug resistance mechanism

Research from the laboratory of Dr. Edgar Hartsuiker at the Bangor North West Cancer Research Institute, School of Medical Sciences, has been published in the latest issue (29 May) of the high-ranking journal Science Advances.

Oncology & Cancer

New CRISPR advance may solve key quandary

A mutation unique to certain cancer tumors is a potential homing beacon for safely deploying CRISPR gene editing enzymes to disarm DNA that makes cancer cells resistant to treatment, while ignoring the gene in normal cells ...

Medical research

Platform precisely quantifies antigens presented on cell surfaces

Normally, the immune system is able to differentiate between healthy and abnormal cells. Peptides, fragments created by the synthesis and breakdown of proteins inside each cell, are presented on the surface as antigens and ...

Oncology & Cancer

Hunting down life-threatening metastases

What makes tumor cells turn murderous? The Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM is investigating the mechanisms of metastasis formation—and searching for approaches for new treatments in the ...

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Cancer

Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.

Cancer may affect people at all ages, even fetuses, but the risk for most varieties increases with age. Cancer causes about 13% of all human deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, 7.6 million people died from cancer in the world during 2007. Cancers can affect all animals.

Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or infectious agents. Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be randomly acquired through errors in DNA replication, or are inherited, and thus present in all cells from birth. The heritability of cancers are usually affected by complex interactions between carcinogens and the host's genome. New aspects of the genetics of cancer pathogenesis, such as DNA methylation, and microRNAs are increasingly recognized as important.

Genetic abnormalities found in cancer typically affect two general classes of genes. Cancer-promoting oncogenes are typically activated in cancer cells, giving those cells new properties, such as hyperactive growth and division, protection against programmed cell death, loss of respect for normal tissue boundaries, and the ability to become established in diverse tissue environments. Tumor suppressor genes are then inactivated in cancer cells, resulting in the loss of normal functions in those cells, such as accurate DNA replication, control over the cell cycle, orientation and adhesion within tissues, and interaction with protective cells of the immune system.

Diagnosis usually requires the histologic examination of a tissue biopsy specimen by a pathologist, although the initial indication of malignancy can be symptoms or radiographic imaging abnormalities. Most cancers can be treated and some cured, depending on the specific type, location, and stage. Once diagnosed, cancer is usually treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As research develops, treatments are becoming more specific for different varieties of cancer. There has been significant progress in the development of targeted therapy drugs that act specifically on detectable molecular abnormalities in certain tumors, and which minimize damage to normal cells. The prognosis of cancer patients is most influenced by the type of cancer, as well as the stage, or extent of the disease. In addition, histologic grading and the presence of specific molecular markers can also be useful in establishing prognosis, as well as in determining individual treatments.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA