Cancer: How Cancerous Cells Escape Drug Attack (The Scientist)

Cancerous cells are surprisingly savvy at sneaking past the best poison and radiations throw at them. Here’s a look at how they might escape. Image credit: Creative Commons License

I’m a biochemist by training (I know) and one of the most interesting and disturbing things I covered in a book I wrote about the relatively new sciences cropping around genomics (human DNA) and proteomics had to do with various types of cancer. What surprised me then — and now — is how easily cancer cells are able to escape attack, become resistant or both — despite even the most vicious medical abuse oncologists throw at them.

So I saw this piece just now in The Scientist.  This piece is not to miss if someone you know and love is fighting a battle with this surprisingly complex multiplicity of diseases researchers call cancer. I’ve included an excerpt and a link to the entirety of Tia Ghose’s piece, below. There is progress. 

From Wellcome researchers in the UK, above is a scanning electron image (color-enhanced) of a group of cancerous prostate cells. Image credit: Creative Commons License

Source: The Scientist

By Tia Ghose (The Scientist) When cancer cells are first discovered, many drugs can blast them into oblivion. But over time, cancers begin to withstand those first line drugs and continue to grow and spread.

“If you already have 1010 tumor cells, the chances are you’re going to have some kind of resistance develop,” said William Pao, a physician scientist at Vanderbilt University, who first uncovered mechanisms of drug resistance in lung cancer. “Even if you kill 99.9 percent of cells you’re still left with a ton of cells which then can start to grow.”

A long-standing hurdle in cancer therapy, researchers are now making inroads … READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.