Researcher: “The paper describes an important new mechanistic insight into the way one can trigger inflammatory signals in cancer cells to either kill them directly or make them vulnerable to cancer-killing therapies,” says cancer biologist Stephen Baylin of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. “The importance of it is really quite profound.”
Researchers: Although neo-Darwinian (and less often Lamarckian) dynamics are regularly invoked to interpret cancer’s multifarious molecular profiles, they shine little light on how tumorigenesis unfolds and often fail to fully capture the frequency and breadth of resistance mechanisms.
Researchers: Scientists have yet to work out how one parental version of a given gene can be switched (or faded) on or off and maintained that way while the other is in the opposite state. It is known that much of the on/off switching occurs during the formation of gametes (sperm and egg), but the precise mechanisms remain unclear. This new study points to the intriguing possibility that some imprinted genes may not be marked in gametes, but become active later in development, or even in adulthood.
Why is it that naturalism ends up sounding so much like folklore? Cells “cheat,” which means they can think like people, right? Oh wait. The mind is an illusion … but anyway, cells “think”? Sure. That’ll work.
An unsettling thought but it might provide clues to treatment.
Useless is not the same as harmful, unfortunately. But, if things turn out as the researchers say, they now know what to target.
The most likely explanation is that death is a process of shutting down, rather than an instant when everything stops. The genes to grow a spinal column, for example, resurfaced but maybe they had been suppressed because the deceased already had one. Still much to learn but that’s a good hypothesis to test.
The main thing we’re learning these days is that epigenetics is much more important than we used to think. Which means that purely Darwinian evolution must be much less so.
It’s an interesting theory but the obvious problem is that transmissible cancers are, as the authors admit, rare. They may always have been rare, relative, say, to predation or extinction—whether sex was part of a life form’s organization or not.
“Natural killer cells” roam the body, demanding that other cells produce evidence of good faith—otherwise, they kill them: In general, two things must happen before an NK cell attacks a target cell: (1) It must receive an activating signal from a body cell that says, “Kill me!” (2) It must not receive an inhibitory signal Read More…
Why this matters: Cancer cells avoid destruction by inhibiting a process (which is called necroptosis). And necroptosis happening when it shouldn’t “is linked to the damage from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and tissue injury from blood flow loss.” Targeting these processes could be an avenue for treatment.
Some of us remember the spate of sciencey articles that appeared in women’s mags on the cancer-prone personality. It sounded wrong at the time. Many of us knew so many people who had died of cancer who didn’t fit the type at all.
They can say that “thinks” is “just an image” if they like. But at what point does it become clear that somehow something must have been doing something that we would normally describe as thinking or else this wouldn’t be happening.
Time will tell if their treatment works but note that actual numerical limits are suggested here on the number of mutations that can happen randomly at the same time. Mathematics, not religion, is the enemy of Darwinism.
From ScienceDaily: A kill code is embedded in every cell in the body whose function may be to cause the self-destruction of cells that become cancerous, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. As soon as the cell’s inner bodyguards sense it is mutating into cancer, they punch in the kill code to extinguish the mutating Read More…