Cancer can be boiled down to a question of stability.

"Genomic instability is, in essence, the final common denominator in the ... evolution of cancer," comments Errol C. Friedberg, professor of pathology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Defects to a cell's genome--whether they be mutations or damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays--that don't get fixed through DNA repair mechanisms will be passed on to new cells, he notes. "Anybody interested in understanding the pathogenesis of cancer wants to understand how genomic stability is maintained," Friedberg continues. "Anything that is important in maintaining genetic stability is probably important in protecting your cells against cancer. Any kind of gene defect that promotes genomic instability probably is a cancer-predisposing gene of some kind."

Manipulating repair systems could restore stability to the genome and reduce cancer risks, notes James Cleaver, professor of dermatology at the University of California...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?