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No. 24: Nov-Dec 1982

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Why cancer?

"However, the most formidable obstacle to the successful treatment of disseminated cancer may well be the fact that the cells of a tumor are biologically heterogeneous. This phenotypic diversity, which allows selected variants to develop from the primary tumor, means not only that primary tumors and metastases can differ in their responses to treatment but also that individual metastases differ from one another. This diversity can be generated rapidly even when the tumors originate from a single transformed cell."

(Fidler, Isaiah J., and Hart, Ian R.; "Biological Diversity in Metastatic Neoplasma: Origins and Implications," Science, 217:998, 1982.)

Comment. The ability of single cancer cells to multiply into different kinds of cells, as well as propagate throughout an organism, seems to betoken an insidious biological entity, whose origin and purpose (?) we have hardly begun to comprehend. How could cancer have evolved if it leaves no progeny? How could natural selection leave us so susceptible to cancer?

Reference. The many enigmas of cancer are covered in categories BHH23-35 in our Catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans II. For information on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #24, NOV-DEC 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987