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.
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.
”The nature of the replication machinery is that chromosomes get smaller every time they divide. And we now appreciate that specialized cells in the body have a way to counteract this telomere shorting and that’s using several strategies of which the most prominent is an enzyme known as telomerase that protects the ends of chromosomes from this erosion.”
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Professor Robert Weinberg explains how normal cells can only double a certain limited number of times; and cancer cells have to learn how to proliferate indefinitely, i.e, they have to become immortalized.
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 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.