Medical research

Could NRF2 be your magic molecule for eternal youth?

NRF2 is just one of thousands of critical proteins in the cell, but it is one that we now know a lot about. Once any molecule achieves a certain level of celebrity status, it tends to acquire a groupie following in the supplement ...

Inflammatory disorders

The two sides of inflammation—the cure and the curse

One of the many wonders—and mysteries—of human biology is the complex response of the innate immune system, which is known for its swiftness in annihilating invading pathogens and capacity to mount an explosive inflammatory ...

Oncology & Cancer

Armoring anti-cancer T cells against immunosuppressants

Duke-NUS Medical School researchers, together with collaborators in Singapore, have designed armored immune cells that can attack recurring cancer in liver transplant patients, while temporarily evading immunosuppressant ...

Medical research

New drug combination shows promise as powerful treatment for AML

Scientists have identified two drugs that are potent against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when combined, but only weakly effective when used alone. The researchers were able to significantly enhance cancer cell death by jointly ...

Medical research

New approach emerges to better classify, treat brain tumors

A look at RNA tells us what our genes are telling our cells to do, and scientists say looking directly at the RNA of brain tumor cells appears to provide objective, efficient evidence to better classify a tumor and the most ...

Medical research

New discovery in breast cancer treatment

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have found new evidence about the positive role of androgens in breast cancer treatment with immediate implications for women with estrogen receptor-driven metastatic disease.

Oncology & Cancer

New computational method detects disrupted pathways in cancer

Cancer is a notoriously complex disease, in part because it may be caused by mutations among hundreds or even thousands of genes. In addition, most cancers exhibit an extraordinary amount of variation among genetic mutations, ...

page 1 from 15

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