Cancer special: Old killer, new hope

时间:2017-04-26 06:00:04166网络整理admin

By Peter Aldhous Nearly four decades after President Nixon declared a “war on cancer”, the toll has scarcely abated. Is it time for a new strategy? As genomics gets into its stride, biologists are starting to learn why cancer is such a wily foe. The sheer diversity of mutations that can turn cells cancerous and drive a tumour’s growth gives them endless opportunities to outwit our defences. With this insight has come the realisation that, by tracking these mutations and targeting each of them with suitable drugs, we may be able to bring cancer under control. The human immune system, which can mount its own exquisitely-targeted responses, might also be harnessed to keep tumours in check. These advances are unlikely to deliver the simple cures we once envisaged, but they could transform many kinds of cancer from killers into manageable conditions. Cancer will become something to live with, just as people now live with diabetes, or even with HIV. In this special issue, we explore how our approach to cancer is changing, and what it could mean for patients over the coming decades. Living with the enemy Patients doing it for themselves Tumours under lock and key Avoiding cancer: Top tips from the experts Interactive graphic: Ten lessons of targeted cancer therapy Editorial: How will we afford future cancer drugs? More on these topics: