How does cancer spread? By sending envoys ahead to prepare new sites for tumors, according to new research (via Reuters/MSNBC). Patricia Steeg, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, is quoted with an interpretation of the research, saying that "tumor cells can mobilize normal bone marrow cells, causing them to migrate to particular regions and change the local environment so as to attract and support a developing metastasis." The article goes on to say that "cells at the site of the metastasis multiply and produce a protein called fibronectin, which acts like a glue to attract and trap the bone marrow cells to create a landing pad or nest for the cancer cells." The authors refer to the new site as a "pre-metastatic niche." According to David Lyden, of Cornell University in New York, one of the authors of the research, it "opens up the door to new concepts of how metastasis is taking place. If we can understand all these multiple processes we can develop new drugs that block each step. That way we have a much better future than just trying to treat the tumor cell, which is almost like a last step in this process."
For what is supposedly the result of a breakdown in cell reproduction controls, this is starting to sound awfully premeditated.
Wow, that is exciting news. Any time we understand more about cancer, we get a step closer to finding better ways to treat it...
The National Cancer Institute announced recent plans to fund research that will "eliminate suffering and death due to cancer by 2015." More than thirty years after Nixon declared war on cancer, science is finally making some progress to render most forms of cancer treatable.
But to put this prospective, cancer really is a disease of the affluent. I hope there there are some serndipitous discoveries in all this research that will help us cure some of the scourges plaguing poorer parts of the world.
Cancers are the result of our intoxicated and stressful lives... It doesn't come out from nowhere, it isn't normal anyway. So if we're really into treating the causes, we'll have to start dealing with the bad work conditions, the environmental pollutions, etc. In sum, cancers have to be linked with our hectic ways and consequences of living too.