Changing the Cancer Landscape

Since the rise of genetics and advanced molecular biology, cancer research is a field that has become almost as obsessed with understanding aberrant metabolism as it is with devising therapies.

You are standing on top of a large, grassy hill. As it slopes down, the ground is uneven, forming pockets and smaller hilltops. More grassy slopes roll out around you to meet the horizon on all sides — a landscape of peaks and valleys, large and small, wildly irregular.

You have with you a large bag of slightly deflated basketballs. Ignoring the ludicrous and perplexing circumstances that must have led to you standing on a hill with so many useless basketballs, you decide you might as well toss one or two down the hill, to see what happens — they don’t bounce, but they’ll roll. Soon you’ve emptied the bag, sending dozens rolling off in every direction. Most of them find their way to a few deep, obvious valleys, before coming to rest. But one of them seems to be stuck – it’s caught in a groove along the hill that you stand on, but the groove is so slight that you hadn’t noticed it before.

It may seem alarming, but that basketball may be the reason we haven’t cured cancer yet.

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Source: Scientific American