My ePortfolio Register   
 

Abstract | Full HTML Article | PDF ecancer 11 747 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.747

Special Issue

The molecular understanding of cancer: from the unspeakable illness to a curable disease

The beginning of our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer and the discovery in the 1980s of cancer associated genes, oncogenes, and tumour suppressor genes has led to cancer becoming a treatable condition rather than an unspeakable disease. In 1971, the then USA President, Richard Nixon, declared ‘war against cancer’ with a far too optimistic perspective of winning in just a few years. This tactic failed because our knowledge of the disease was still very limited and even its origin—viral or due to exposure to external agents—was still highly debated. A better understanding of the cause(s) of the origin of cancer led to its definition as a genetic disease at the somatic level and heralded a new era for molecular diagnosis and the development of more mechanistic evidence-based, targeted cancer therapies. However, the initial positive results were soon overshadowed by a major limitation of targeted agents, namely resistance mechanisms, which still represent an obstacle for the full eradication of the disease. More recently, effective therapeutic approaches have been developed in the field of ‘immunotherapy’. The combination of novel therapies will hopefully result in effective cancer growth control and make the disease ‘chronic’. The launch of the ‘Moonshot Cancer Program’ by President Barack Obama aims to significantly reduce cancer deaths in the next decade—let us see.

Keywords: oncogenic viruses, oncogenes, tumor suppressors, targeted therapy

Loading Article Metrics ... Please wait

Related articles

Case Report: Primary non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the prostate: a case report

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 12 Dec 2017 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.789

Special Issue: Cytoreductive prostate radiotherapy in oligometastatic prostate cancer: a single centre analysis of toxicity and clinical outcome

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 30 Nov 2017 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.786

Special Issue: Recent advances in radiation oncology

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 30 Nov 2017 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.785

Special Issue: History of the development of radiotherapy in Latin America

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 30 Nov 2017 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.784

Clinical Study: Laparoscopic liver resection in metastatic colorectal cancer treatment: comparison with long-term results using the conventional approach

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 24 Oct 2017 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2017.775



Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

Published by

Cancer Intelligence