From this article in the NYT HERE
Cancer’s Secrets Come Into Sharper Focus
Recent discoveries on the complexities of cancer:
But recent discoveries have been complicating the picture with tangles of new detail. Cancer appears to be even more willful and calculating than previously imagined.
Are humans microbial hybrids or what?
As they look beyond the genome, cancer researchers are also awakening to the fact that some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes. We evolved with them in a symbiotic relationship, which raises the question of just who is occupying whom.
“We are massively outnumbered,” said Jeremy K. Nicholson, chairman of biological chemistry and head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London. Altogether, he said, 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial.
“Dark matter” in the genome?
These shifts in perspective, occurring throughout cellular biology, can seem as dizzying as what happened in cosmology with the discovery that dark matter and dark energy make up most of the universe: Background suddenly becomes foreground and issues once thought settled are up in the air.
MicroRNAs, the exotic players:
By binding to a gene’s messenger RNA, microRNA can prevent the instructions from reaching their target — essentially silencing the gene — and may also modulate the signal in other ways.
New hypothesis on cancer:
Little is wasted by evolution, and Dr. Pandolfi hypothesizes that RNA signals from both genes and pseudogenes interact through a language involving microRNAs.
Cancer cells recruit healthy cells as zombie collaborators to build and sustain the tumor:
Cells called fibroblasts collaborate by secreting proteins the tumor needs to build its supportive scaffolding and expand into surrounding tissues. Immune system cells, maneuvered into behaving as if they were healing a wound, emit growth factors that embolden the tumor and stimulate angiogenesis, the generation of new blood vessels. Endothelial cells, which form the lining of the circulatory system, are also enlisted in the construction of the tumor’s own blood supply.
Stealthy and powerful trojan enemy within us…..shades of “Star Trek” or Babylon 5:
With so many phenomena in search of a biological explanation, “Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation” may conceivably be followed by a second sequel — with twists as unexpected as those in the old “Star Trek” shows. The enemy inside us is every bit as formidable as imagined invaders from beyond. Learning to outwit it is leading science deep into the universe of the living cell.
Hopefully, with sufficient understanding of living cell biology, science will provide solutions.