Cancer’s Boundless Limits Towards Evolution

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In today’s quickly growing medical field there seems to be no obstacle that science has yet to overcome. In visits to doctors or hospitals, we explain our symptoms and sure enough a few minutes later we walk out with a prescription in hand. Yet recently the battle against cancer has grown more difficult because ways to treat and cure patients has significantly narrowed. Cancer has become the greatest medical mystery due to inconclusive facts about the disease that remain unresolved. Therefore treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are showing less and less results and it is becoming more evident that cancer is being driven by the selective pressure of natural selection. This is why many scientists and researchers have begun to view cancer from an evolutionary and ecological lens broadening prospects that research is furthering and bringing society closer to a cure. The application of evolution and ecology to cancer is already helping us to better understand, predict and control this disease (Merlo 933.) Being able to look at cancer with a different perspective and approach can lead to countless discoveries and a better understanding of mutant cells that hold the ability to replicate and kill very quickly. The studies of cancer biology through evolution and ecology have brought insight from research as well as brought profound implications in understanding why current cancer treatment are failing and how radically new therapies might now arise.

Historically there has been very little attention that focuses on evolutionary biology and the understanding towards controlling neoplasm cell progression. Tumor cells develop constantly by natural selection and many are thought to continue evolving as they reproduce. The mai...

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...fferent; simply the rate of reproduction of an organism is much slower than a cell. This is why cancer tends to develop so quickly, the irony of cellular selection is that while the cell is evolving benefiting its evolutionary fitness, it happens at the expense of an individual. As further explained by “Another perspective on cancer”, “…cancerous cells have an advantage in comparison to other cells in the body, but are disadvantageous to the organism. Selection at the cellular level might wind up hampering the organism’s survival reproduction, acting in the exact opposition to selection at the individual level (____2.)”

Works Cited

Merlo, Lauren M.F, John W. Pepper, Brian J. Reild, and Carlo C. Maley. "Cancer as an Evolutionary and Ecological Process." Rev. of Evolutionary Theory of Cancer. Nature Publishing Group 6 (2006): 924-33. Academic Search Elite. Web.
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