All sporadic cancer is caused by acquired somatic mutations (mutations that take place within cells of the body that are not passed down/inherited). Mutations often occur by incorrect repair of DNA damage by impaired DNA pathways such as the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway and the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway.
By Jenni Lacey, Cancer Research UK
At Cancer Research UK, we invest over £350 million each year on high-calibre cancer research which we believe has the potential to provide the greatest benefit to the public and cancer patients. We are always looking for novel ways to spark and fund creative ideas, and encourage fresh thinking. That’s why we’ve developed new ways of supporting research and stimulating innovation. We have funding schemes that are open to researchers from all backgrounds, including biochemists, and those not currently working in cancer research.
By Paulo Szwarc, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil
Cancer sure is tricky. We try to starve it, cut it, stress it out of our bodies. We even bombard it with radiation until it dies. And yet, not due to lack of trying, many times we lose the fight. It escapes, evades our resistance. Its overly mutational nature leads it to adapt, dodging the deadly effects of chemotherapeutics. Not only that, but the lack of selectivity in many treatments means that while we harm the tumour, we also wreak havoc to our own healthy cells. It makes the battle much harder.
Kelli Gallacher, University of Bristol
It may only be early in 2018, but we have already been treated to some exciting science news. Last week, a study published in Science described a blood test that is able to detect proteins and genes that are characteristic of eight common forms of cancer; ovarian, lung, breast, liver, stomach, pancreatic, colon and oesophageal. This could have a huge impact in how we diagnose cancer – but how far have we come and how soon can we see the test in practice?