Shegelman, essay 5

Shegelman, essay 5 - Dmitriy Shegelman BioNB 4270 Essay#5...

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Dmitriy Shegelman BioNB 4270 Essay #5 The National Cancer Institute predicts that more than 1.5 million people will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2010, about 70,000 of which will be diagnoses of bladder cancer, with victims that are predominantly male. And even though the 5-year survival of bladder cancer is relatively high (almost 80%, depending on stage at diagnosis), nearly 15,000 people are predicted to die from bladder cancer in 2010 (NIH, 2010). In light of this, the study of cancer prediction, initiation, and progression seems to be a wise and potentially profitable choice for researchers. However, the study of cancer, as well as many other maladies such as autoimmune disorders, has been plagued with limited data sets and limited biomolecular-level understanding. Compounding this lack of information, are socially related barriers of accepted thought and doctrine. Only recently have the concepts of Darwinism, and evolution by natural selection, become valid approaches in analyzing the results of a study. The proportion of misguided individuals in the U.S. is especially alarming; a full two-thirds of a representative sample survey answered that they believe that Creationism is the true source of life and all its details (USA Today, 2007). One discovery of particular significance that remained unexplained by Creationists was the statistical link between different cancers and allergy incidence, first noticed in the 1980’s (Sherman et al, 2008). Part of the problem in explaining 1
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this phenomenon was that correlations with some types of cancers were positive, while other cancers had decidedly inverse correlations with allergies. Finally, a pivotal point of insight was revealed when Sherman et al. compared “outward-facing-organ” cancers, with cancers in organs that did not directly interface with the external environment or its increasing (worldwide) toxin content (Sherman et al, 2008). The results and discussion of Sherman’s study supported the “Prophylaxis Hypothesis”- that allergies are due to an over-reactive immune system, and therefore serve to protect external organs by excreting mutagenic agents before they can proliferate. In evolutionary terms, this means that allergies are not just nuisances, but are actually carefully evolved and meticulously mediated responses to toxins and/or mutagenic environments the human is meant to avoid. In an attempt to explain the apparent exceptions, the roles of specific carcinogens, genetic predisposition, and inflammatory immune responses (e.g. allergies), were also explored. One of the nine organs in Sherman’s study that faced direct exposure to toxins and mutagens, the bladder experienced an inverse correlation between cancer diagnosis and allergy presence, as predicted by Sherman’s prophylaxis hypothesis. Additionally, the alternative hypotheses of “Immunosurveilance,” and “Antigenic
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2011 for the course BIONB 4270 at Cornell.

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Shegelman, essay 5 - Dmitriy Shegelman BioNB 4270 Essay#5...

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