News / Health

    Shared Traits Could Help Scientists Find Cancer Cure

    But 'Hallmarks of Cancer' haven't yet fulfilled promise

    Cancer is really dozens of different diseases and finding commonalities among them could bring scientists closer to finding a cure.
    Cancer is really dozens of different diseases and finding commonalities among them could bring scientists closer to finding a cure.
    Art Chimes

    What we think of as cancer is not really one disease but a large number of related diseases. And while each is different, they share certain characteristics. These "Hallmarks of Cancer" were identified in an influential publication a decade ago, and now the authors are back with an update.

    Writing in the journal Cell in 2000, Doughas Hanahan and Robert A. Weinberg identified six cellular traits as "Hallmarks of Cancer." They included features such as sustained growth of blood vessels to feed the growing cancer and what the authors called "self-sufficiency in growth signals."

    "Normal cells in our tissues will not start growing unless they're stimulated to do so by getting signals from their neighbors," Weinberg explained in a telephone interview.

    "However, cancer cells become independent of these signals from their neighbors, and as a consequence they stimulate their own growth, making them independent and allowing them to drive their own proliferation relentlessly."

    Weinberg, who is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the value of identifying these hallmarks of cancer is that they can suggest new ways of fighting cancer that might be more effective than current therapies.

    "In other words, there may be two or three molecules inside cancer cells that are functioning abnormally in order to confer on the cancer cell unrelenting growth. And if we hit this hallmark vulnerability, then we believe we may be able to get a long-term clinical response," he said.

    In the decade since the original Hallmarks article was published, there has been a lot of cancer research. The newly-published version of the Hallmarks paper reflects a better understanding of the original six hallmarks, plus two new ones.

    "One of them is the need for a tumor, during its development, to evade elimination by the immune system. Another is the possibility that tumor cells have a very unusual metabolism, which sets them apart from normal cells," Weinberg said.

    And that might suggest another vulnerability that could be targeted by cancer researchers.

    The original "Hallmarks of Cancer" article has been cited by other researchers more often than any other paper published by the journal Cell, which also published the update. Despite that benchmark for influence in the scientific community, Robert Weinberg admits that his analysis of cancer's hallmarks has not yet had a major impact in actually producing new cancer treatments.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora