Cancer theorist Paul Davies to speak on the disease’s evolutionary history

on December 2 | in Australian News, Commentary, Featured News | by | with Comments Off

cancer cellBy  - SMH.

It takes a lot of front to tell an entire scientific discipline it’s barking up the wrong trillion-dollar research tree.

It’s something else when that field is cancer research and you’re not even a biologist.

But that’s just what British cosmologist Professor Paul Davies has been doing.

Seven years ago, the National Cancer Institute in the US asked Professor Davies to use his insight as a physicist to look at cancer. His conclusion is that most cancer biologists are thinking about the problem the wrong way.

Rather than treat cancer as a disease of cell mutation, he and his colleague Dr Charley Lineweaver at the Australian National University have developed what they say is a new theory of cancer that traces its origins to the dawn of multicellular life more than a billion years ago.

Professor Davies believes cancer cells are a “reversion to an ancestral phenotype”, the physical expression of deep genetic information that springs from the very nature of multicellular life.

Rather than it being a mutation, he says that cancer is a cell’s way to cope when it undergoes certain stresses. He uses the analogy of a computer switching to “safe mode” when its operating system is threatened…read the full story.

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