Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer 'avalanche effect' refuted

Date:
December 11, 2013
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
First, the number of chromosomes in a cell changes, then an avalanche of further mutations occur that transform the cell into a cancer cell, according to a well-known - but untested - theory. A research group in Sweden has now shown that the theory is not correct and constitutes a dead end for research.

First, the number of chromosomes in a cell changes, then an avalanche of further mutations occur that transform the cell into a cancer cell, according to a well-known -- but untested -- theory. A research group at Lund University in Sweden has now shown that the theory is not correct and constitutes a dead end for research.

Cancer is due to changes in the DNA of cells, which causes them to divide in an uncontrolled manner. It is also true that the cancer cells in certain common tumours, such as in colon cancer, can have over 100 chromosomes instead of the 46 chromosomes normally present in a human cell.

But does a single, initial change in the number of chromosomes set off a sequence of unstoppable changes that lead to cancer? The answer to this question is important; in order to ensure that cancer research is on the right track.

"In our view, the answer to that question is no. We have carried out very detailed studies and have not been able to see any sign of an 'avalanche effect'," said cancer researcher and pathologist David Gisselsson from Lund University.

He and Anders Valind, a doctoral student, have studied cells from children and foetuses that have had congenital changes in the number of chromosomes. If the avalanche theory is correct, then these cells should have developed a large number of further changes as a consequence, but this was not the case.

Studying the presence of chromosomal changes that have only occurred in a few cells is difficult, which is one reason why the avalanche theory has never been tested on human cells. David Gisselsson's research group have had to refine the technology in order to conduct their study, and many control tests have been performed.

"Our findings will no doubt cause a scientific debate, so we wanted to make sure that they rested on a stable foundation," said Dr Gisselsson.

Gisselsson believes the findings could lead to significant progress in cancer research. There is no longer any need to invest energy in identifying one single source of all forms of cancer, an area which David Gisselsson regards as a dead end for research. Instead, the research community can carry out targeted searches for different triggers for different types of cancer.

"Cancer is not one disease with one trigger mechanism; it varies from one type to another and from case to case. I think our findings bring hope, because they will make it easier to develop new research tools," says David Gisselsson.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Valind, Y. Jin, B. Baldetorp, D. Gisselsson. Whole chromosome gain does not in itself confer cancer-like chromosomal instability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1311163110

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Cancer 'avalanche effect' refuted." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211104123.htm>.
Lund University. (2013, December 11). Cancer 'avalanche effect' refuted. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211104123.htm
Lund University. "Cancer 'avalanche effect' refuted." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211104123.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins