While environmental factors can play a huge role, the number one cause of cancer is mutations from regular cell replication. Does this mean cancer in humans is simply inevitable?
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Researchers Find Mutation ‘Hotspots’ That Are Linked to Cancer
“Researchers say they’ve identified clusters of genetic mutations in proteins that can give rise to cancer, a discovery that may help them zero in on new treatments. Those mutation ‘hotspots’ occur among families of proteins produced by genes in the body’s cells. By sifting through data from nearly 6,000 cancer patients, researchers at the University of Maryland say they found thousands of mutations that occur among those proteins.”
Bad luck plays larger role than environmental, genetic factors in determining who gets cancer
“Two-thirds of adult cancer incidence across tissues can be explained not by environmental factors or inherited genes but by bad luck, according to scientists from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The unlucky findings by Johns Hopkins scientists were discovered using a statistical model that measures the proportion of cancer incidence across many tissue types. They found that more often than not, cancer in adults is caused by random mutations that occur when stem cells divide.”
DNA typos to blame for most cancer mutations
“Each time a cell divides, it provides an opportunity for errors to crop up during DNA replication. In 2015, Vogelstein and one of his co-authors, mathematician Cristian Tomasetti of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, created a stir with an analysis that looked at possible explanations for why some cancers occur more often than others. They concluded that differences in the number of stem-cell divisions in an organ correlated with the frequency of cancers in that area.”
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This episode of Seeker was written and hosted by Trace Dominguez.