January 28 2010 post. I recently read an absolutely fascinating New York Times article (see: http://tinyurl.com/yfcshow) on how cancer research in the past couple of decades has been so focused on genetic mutations that other factors, namely the interactions between rogue cells and surrounding tissue, have been ignored…until recently, that is. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you how many studies I have read on the importance of the bone marrow microenvironment for the survival and growth of myeloma cells. Heaps!
Back to the article now…Of particular interest (to me, at any rate) are the paragraphs describing the experiments that indicated that cancer cells could become normal in the right environment (see “Struggle for Acceptance” and “Sleeping Cells Awakened”). Well how about that? Reversing cancer? What a stunning thought…
And also this excerpt: The basic idea — still in the experimental stages — is that cancer cells cannot turn into a lethal tumor without the cooperation of other cells nearby. That may be why autopsies repeatedly find that most people who die of causes other than cancer have at least some tiny tumors in their bodies that had gone unnoticed. According to current thinking, the tumors were kept in check, causing no harm.
It also may mean that cancers grow in part because normal cells surrounding them allowed them to escape. It also means that there might be a new way to think about treatment: cancer might be kept under control by preventing healthy cells around it from crumbling.
Wow…”cancer might be kept under control by preventing healthy cells around it from crumbling.”
Yes, a fascinating read. Highly recommended.