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No. 31: Jan-Feb 1984

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Cancer Even More Insidious

A recent advance in cancer research has been the discovery that the development of some cancers is initiated by oncogenes -- genes which have been "switched on" by biological or environmental forces. That humans and other organisms harbor such Trojan Horses is unsettling enough, but it now seems that the development of cancer may require the stepwise cooperation of several different oncogenes. In other words, one oncogene controls the action of another and so on in cascade until the cancer is finally initiated.

(Marx, Jean L.; "Cooperation between Oncogenes," Science, 222:602, 1983.)

Comment. How and why would such a complex mechanism, without obvious short-term survival value, ever have developed? See "Cancer: The Price for Higher Life," in SF#30.

Reference. More on the insidiousness of cancer and related anomalies, see BHH2335 in our Catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans II. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #31, JAN-FEB 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss