Friday, November 17, 2006
The dynamics of evolution are fully in play within the environment of a tumor (tumour), just as they are in forests and meadows, oceans and streams. This is the view of researchers in an emerging cross-disciplinary field that brings the thinking of ecologists and evolutionary biologists to bear on cancer biology.
Insights from their work may have profound implications for understanding why current cancer therapies often fail and how radically new therapies might be devised.
A review by researchers at The Wistar Institute of current research in this new field, published online November 16, will appear in the December issue of the journal Nature Reviews Cancer.
Continued at "Does Natural Selection Drive The Evolution Of Cancer?" [Therapy]
Based on the Nature Reviews Cancer paper "Cancer as an evolutionary and ecological process" by Carlo C. Maley (homepage) et. al
Neoplasms are microcosms of evolution. Within a neoplasm, a mosaic of mutant cells compete for space and resources, evade predation by the immune system and can even cooperate to disperse and colonize new organs. The evolution of neoplastic cells explains both why we get cancer and why it has been so difficult to cure. The tools of evolutionary biology and ecology are providing new insights into neoplastic progression and the clinical control of cancer.
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