Professor Douglas Hanahan discusses how cancer acquires capabilities and these capabilities are all, to some approximation, necessary to produce a successful tumor.
In 2000, Douglas Hanahan (shown below) and Robert Weinberg published a paper in Cell, "The Hallmarks of Cancer," which identified some organizing principles of cancer cell development.
“We believe that cancer acquires capabilities and that these capabilities are all, to some approximation, necessary to produce a successful tumor. And these may not be a complete description of a tumor but they, probably just in the same way as you describe a car as having a motor and some wheels and tires and a gas tank and some brakes you haven't completely described the car, but you've described a lot of the capabilities that allow it to do what it does. So I think the same issue here is that tumors have a set, a minimal set, of capabilities, that we think are necessary, and so we call these the hallmarks of cancer.”
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Professor Douglas Hanahan discusses how cancers kill you, in general, not just because they grow into a large lump, but because they invade into normal tissues and disrupt the functions of those tissues.
Professor Douglas Hanahan, discusses that due to the nature of the replication machinery chromosomes get smaller every time they divide, and that we now appreciate that specialized cells in the body have a way to counteract this telomere shorting.
Professor Douglas Hanahan explains that a fundamental property of multi-cellular organisms is the capability to have cells commit suicide or undergo apoptosis, which is a form of programmed cell death.
Professor Douglas Hanahan discusses how cancer cells require a source of nutrients and oxygen, which is supplied through new blood vessel growth – the process of angiogenesis, which is critical for almost all cancers.
Professor Douglas Hanahan explains that not only are there positive signals that tell cells to grow but there are negative signals to stop such proliferation, and loss of the negative growth control signals is a common denominator for many cancers.