Learning from cancer: the adaptive growth, wound and immune responses

Smith, Gary Robert and Missailidis, Sotiris (2009). Learning from cancer: the adaptive growth, wound and immune responses. Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology, 13(A) pp. 158–185.


The life cycle of cancer, and solid tumours in particular, can be usefully simplified into two phases of the disease; the earlier phase where change in intracellular processes is required for carcinogenesis and the later phase, malignancy, where the continued development of the cancer relies on the support of extra-cellular processes. From this systems view of cancer and the failure modes of healthy biological processes associated with it, a three-vector portrayal of cellular dynamics is abstracted. This overarching framework for the direction of biosystem responses places the categorisation of disease at the extreme points of these vectors and provides an explanation for their cause. Furthermore, laboratory and clinical evidence suggests that a synergistic systems approach to disease management, based on the manipulation of these vectors, could lead to new paradigms in treatment.

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