Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The long view: understanding why cancer strikes late

03.02.2004


We all know that cancer happens more often in older people. The reason seems to be that cancer develops slowly, first passing through a series of benign stages. Our understanding of how cancer develops over a lifetime is limited by the extreme difficulty of monitoring these slow changes, but new work reported this week aids this effort by employing mathematical modelling to analyze epidemiological data on the relationship between age and cancer and generating ideas about how cancer progresses over time.



The findings come from Steven Frank at the University of California in Irvine, who analyzed how the rates of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers rise with age. Older people do indeed get these cancers much more often, but the increase with age slows down later in life.

In the new work, Frank asks how the passage through the benign early stages of cancer would cause the increase in cancer incidence to slow as one ages. His theory is that, early in life, we are well-protected because all of our cells have many stages to go through before they may become cancerous. As we get older, some of our cells progress through the early stages. By midlife, much of the waiting for the slow passage of the early stages is over. A few of our cells are poised on the brink of cancer, with only a few steps to go.


So, early in life there are many steps to pass and cancer incidence less frequent. When people are older, cancer strikes frequently because only one or two short steps remain. Cancer incidence is high, but does not increase so much as one gets even older, because those last steps could strike at any time. Frank develops a general model for how cancer progresses then uses it to explain the observed differences between tissues (e.g., prostate vs. breast) in age-specific cancer acceleration.

New genetic techniques will soon allow scientists to look at the genetic changes in cells that cause cancer. If Frank is right, then everyone will have cells stepping along through the early stages of cancer progression as they get older. The actual incidence of cancer at different ages in different people can then be linked to the slow changes that happen over the course of our lives.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht TSRI researchers develop new method to 'fingerprint' HIV
29.03.2017 | Scripps Research Institute

nachricht Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>