KankerCel: The Hallmarks

In trying to understand what makes continuous growth, despite its obvious harmful effects, such a powerful idea, The Incredible Shrinking Man pinpointed cancer as one of its key areas of research. When it comes to understanding the biological desire for growth beyond what is healthy, cancer and the process that turns healthy growth into malignant growth, can teach us a lot. How does something that functions incredibly well get corrupted into becoming self destructive? Our series called KankerCel departs from the seminal paper “ The hallmarks of cancer” published by Robert Weinberg and Douglas Hanahan in 2000, with an updated version in 2013. In it the authors simplify this complex disease to just 10 common traits that every single cancer shares to facilitate the transformation from a normal cell to a cancer cell.

The traits that the authors highlight in the paper are (1) Cancer cells stimulate their own growth; (2) They resist inhibitory signals that might otherwise stop their growth; (3) They resist their programmed cell death;(4) They can multiply indefinitely; (5) They stimulate the growth of blood vessels to supply nutrients to tumors; (6) They invade local tissue and spread to distant sites; (7) They use abnormal metabolic pathways to generate energy; (8) They evade the immune system; (9) They generally have severe chromosomal abnormalities which worsen as the disease progresses, and (10) Cancer cells are often induced by local chronic Inflammation.

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