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Current Genomics


ISSN (Print): 1389-2029
ISSN (Online): 1875-5488

Overview Section: Genetics of Cancer: Away from the Beaten Track

Author(s): Isidro Sanchez-Garcia

Volume 3, Issue 4, 2002

Page: [i - i] Pages: 1

DOI: 10.2174/1389202023350390

Price: $65


It has been realized for many years that cancer has a genetic component and at the level of the cell it can be said to be a genetic disease. In 1914, Boveri suggested that an aberration in the genome might be responsible for the origin of cancer. This was subsequently supported by the evidence that cancer, or the risk of cancer, could be inherited; that mutagens could cause tumors in both animals and humans, and that tumors are monoclonal in origin, that is, the cells of a tumor all show the genetic characteristics of the original transformed cell. It is only in recent years that the involvement of specific genes has been demonstrated at the molecular level. Cancer cells contain many alterations wich accumulate as tumors develop. Understanding genetic pathways was considered to be, and still remains, the prerequisite for the development of molecular and pharmacological therapeutics to treat and prevent cancer. While researchers in the 20th century focused on the identification of genetic pathways, the beginning of the 21st century will need to focus on the interphase of normal physiology and cancer. Cancer is a disease of the organism, nor simply of abnormal cells. In order to study accurately the complex host-tumor interactions that occur during tumor development, it is necessary to perform experiments in an in vivo setting in which neoplasms emerge in the appropriate microenvironment. While studies in tissue culture cells permit the molecular dissection of pathways operative in a single cell, research in mice integrates the complexity of an organ and its different cell types with the dynamic physiological status of the animal.....

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