Lecture 2 Introduction to Cancer Research 04

Lecture 2 Introduction to Cancer Research 04 - Lecture 1...

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Lecture 1 Introduction to Cancer Research 04/03/08 Cancer is a genetic disease Most cancers do not result from inherited mutations, but are a result universally of mutations in individual cells that then will go on to allow a tumor to grow Cancer arises because of changes in genome typically of a single cell to start with that then lead to more changes Not an infectious disease Not a disease specifically caused by environmental conditions in the absence of genetic mutations, although environmental conditions that cause genetic mutations can and often do lead to cancer Question : Cancer caused by viruses viral infection sets up a condition that then gives rise to the cancer Example: cervical cancer preceded by the infection with HPV. Infection alone does not cause the cancer. Infection predisposes the infected tissue to go on and get the cancer. Other examples: hepatitis C and liver cancer infection sets up condition that leads to cancer Some animals there are viruses that directly seem to cause the cell that’s infected to form a tumor. But in human beings at this point, there’s no great example of an infection that directly causes cancer. Good. Question: Cancer caused by mutation in one gene or many genes?? Cancer from an evolutionary perspective selection that occurs in the body. One mutation occurring giving rise to cell that has a proliferative or dividing advantage over its neighboring cells and losing control over restraining itself in a 3D space Continued growth leads to second mutation and gives that cell an even greater advantage that was initially mutated and on and on and on Each level something happening that gives that cell a peculiar advantage in the body to grow out of control until final stage in malignancy that is well selected in growing and surviving But they are useless in any other way because tumors are essentially organs without a function. Think about physiology of tumor itself as it exists in body, has to survive History of Cancer Latin for crab the way the tumor is often seen in the person who dies from it central cluster with outreaching legs reaching into other organs Noticed by physicians for thousands of years, but didn’t take up a lot of space in early medical texts because it is a disease of aging Inflection point is between 35 and 40; around 85, see a plateau
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Aging and genetic changes that accompany it are the biggest factors Prior to turn of last century (before 1900s), people died early, in their 30s or 40s (in third world countries, still true) – incidence of cancer not very large, not a very important clinical problem relative to infectious diseases Theories that arose about this Most or all physicians in western world up until early 1800s were still operating under the assumption that the best way to think about disease was to think about it from the standpoint of Hypocrates’ idea by the 4 humors –
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Lecture 2 Introduction to Cancer Research 04 - Lecture 1...

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