My ePortfolio Register   
 

Abstract | Full HTML Article | PDF ecancer 11 747 / DOI: 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

Review: Cancer of childhood in sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 28 Jul 2017 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.755

Special Issue: The past and future of breast cancer treatment—from the papyrus to individualised treatment approaches

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 08 Jun 2017 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.746

Special Issue: Radioguided localisation of non-palpable lesions of the breast in Costa Rica: Review of results of our first 800 patients in private practice

Abstract | Full Article | PDF | Spanish Published: 08 Jun 2017 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.745

Review: Bringing a humanistic approach to cancer clinical trials

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 18 May 2017 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.738

Review: Tobacco in post-conflict settings: the case of Iraq

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 28 Apr 2017 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.735



Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

Published by

Cancer Intelligence