Cancer is a complex disease. Finding treatments and cures is difficult, but understanding and exploiting its complexities is where future promise lies. An Insight in the 18 Nov 2004 issue of Nature (Vol. 432, No. 7015) captures the excitement in the rapidly advancing field of cancer research.
A series of review articles investigates cell division and cancer, describing how more effective therapies can be achieved through a better understanding of cancerous cells: how they multiply indefinitely, and the factors, genomic or environmental, that affect their proliferation. So called 'magic bullet' treatments - where drugs are designed to hamper a specific molecular target - are an example of the benefits of this understanding, and are discussed in the introduction. Other articles look at the body's built-in tumour suppression mechanisms, the idea of cancer as a disease caused by cells with stem-cell-like properties and how cellular responses to DNA damage (for example, inflicted by the Sun's radiation) can be important in predicting the effectiveness and side effects of treatments.
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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