Cancer. Not much to say other than fuck it. I’m only 31 and I already know two close friends who have been afflicted by it. The older you get, the more people it hits.
It’s a nasty, brutal and so often deadly disease, and scientists have been heroically scrambling for decades to fight it. Advances in treatments have drastically increased the survival rate. Both my friends who developed it are now completely in the clear.
But many still die at its hands, which is why any new discovery is good. Today’s, though, is really great news. Scientists have determined that the cells that help the disease spread (metastatic cells) are fundamentally different from the cells in actual cancerous tumors. When you hear about cancer spreading, it’s these bastards that are doing it.
Now that scientists know the genetic difference between these cells and the tumors they originate from, that means they can develop a whole new host of treatments and medications to fight cancer’s spread. From Science Daily:
Metastases cause the vast majority of cancer deaths, but their tiny seeds are so difficult to track that few researchers have managed to study them. Now, scientists from UC San Francisco describe capturing and studying individual metastatic cells from human breast cancer tumors implanted into mice as the cells escaped into the blood stream and began to form tumors elsewhere in the body.
The researchers discovered that genetic programs expressed in these cells were quite distinct from the primary tumors in which they originated and included genes typically expressed in mammary stem cells. The findings, published online Sept. 23, 2015 in Nature, could change the way researchers think about how cancer spreads and suggest new drugs to track down and disable its deadly seeds.
Is there anything other to say than fuck yea?