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 October 21, 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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