A Very Promising but Shunned Cancer Treatment
New Cancer Treatment Alternative
Cancer and Genes▼
The correlation that is often seen between carcinogenesis and mutagenesis may not be causative, since mutation of genes seems neither sufficient nor necessary condition for cancerous growth.
Mutation of genes is at the very core of the mechanism of evolution. If mutagenesis was sufficient condition for cancerous growth, evolution and cancer would have gone hand in hand. There is hardly any proof to support this.
Mutation may not be necessary for tumor growth either, since it is not observed in all instances. Nor does the extent-of-the-presence of aberrant genes always correspond to the severity of the disease.
Amongst identical twins if one has leukemia, chances of other getting the disease are only 15%. Such a small factor can easily be accounted for by similar life-style or environment; no need to invoke "the bad genes".
The best documented case of inherited cancer is childhood eye-tumor retinoblastoma. It is caused by defective copy of the RB gene -- often seen as a small deletion on chromosome 13. Thus it is the absence of a normal healthy gene that is the cause of malignant transformation -- again suggesting that the concept of "bad gene" is quite unnecessary to explain cancer. (Most other inherited tumors - all very rare - are also diseases of childhood and their inductions also seem to occur due to deletion of a genetic region.)
Otherwise, whenever a variety of cancer seems to run in a family, as soon as that family moves to a different cultural/social setting, that pattern (susceptibility) is lost -- implying that it is life-style that holds the key to causation, not genes.
Even when a gene is isolated that has some positive correlation to cancer, claim is often made that it enhances the susceptibility to the disease, and not cause it. To show cause, lately, constellations of mutated genes have been postulated in certain cases, thereby making the case of correlation much stronger, and equating it with cause. Could it be that these mutated genes show strong correlation merely as end products of cancerous growth, without any causative connection?
Since vast majority of cancers are caused by chemical or physico-chemical means (rather than by biological agents), the mechanism of initiation of cancer is likely to be found at biochemical level§.
▼ When this small article -- without the
grayed paragraph -- was shown to Dr. Dennis Slamon of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer
Center (currently, director of the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research
Program), his only objection was "How do you then explain the
retinoblastoma?". There was a very simple answer for that, which
incorporated in the article (grayed section) the same day.
§ For one possibility, please see
§ For one possibility, please seeThe Mechanism of Induction of Cancer : A Model.
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