The Stem-Cell Cancer Hypothesis
The cover article of this week’s Economist brings the stem-cell cancer hypothesis to the mainstream. This is over 3 years after Eva Vertes talked about it at TED in one of my favorite video pieces ever. And is very, very exciting.
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..just occasionally, a finding revolutionises the field and cracks open a whole range of diseases. The discovery in the 19th century that many illnesses are caused by bacteria was one such. The unravelling of Mendelian genetics was another. It now seems likely that medical science is on the brink of a finding of equal significance. The underlying biology of that scourge of modern humanity, cancer, looks as though it is about to yield its main secret. If it does, it is possible that the headline-writer’s cliché, “a cure for cancer”, will come true over the years, just as the antibiotics that followed from the discovery of bacteria swept away previously lethal infectious diseases.
The discovery — or, rather, the hypothesis that is now being tested — is that cancers grow from stem cells in the way that healthy organs do.
The Economist, The root of all evil?