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No. 16: Summer 1981

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How Do Cancers Attract A Supporting Cast

The ability of a cancer cell to grow depends upon getting a good supply of blood from its host's capillary system. Cancer cells, always insidious, seem to be able to con its host's body into constructing a special system of capillaries just to support tumor growth. First, the cancer sends out a chemical signal that attracts the host's mast cells. As the mast cells work their ways to the cancer, they apparently leave a heparinlined tunnel for the capillary cells to follow. Before long, the body has provided the blood supply the cancer needs to grow and possibly, eventually kill the host.

(Gunby, Phil; "How Do Cancers Attract a Supporting Cast?" American Medical Association, Journal, 245:1994, 1981.)

Comment. In view of all of Nature's marvelous adaptations, why hasn't the body evolved a counter strategy to foil cancer sabotage?

Reference. Many more anomalous features of cancer can be found at BHH23-35 in our Catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans II. Details on this book here.

From Science Frontiers #16, Summer 1981. � 1981-2000 William R. Corliss