Our website uses cookies to improve your on-site experience. By using the website, cookies are being used as described in our Policy Document
Warning: To log in you will need to enable cookies and reload the page (Policy Document)
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

Review: Non-gastrointestinal stromal tumours soft tissue sarcomas: an update

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 13 Aug 2019 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2019.958

Clinical Study: Early toxicity and treatment outcomes of extended field-intensity modulated radiotherapy for cervical cancer patients with para-aortic nodal metastasis

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 06 Aug 2019 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2019.957

Research: Effect of radiation dose to the periventricular zone and subventricular zone on survival in anaplastic gliomas

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 31 Jul 2019 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2019.956

Research: Nurse-led renal cancer follow-up is safe and associated with high patient satisfaction—an audit from the East of England

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 30 Jul 2019 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2019.955

Case Report: Synchronous peritoneal carcinomatosis from a buccal squamous cell carcinoma: a case report focusing on possible metastatic mechanisms and novel therapeutic modalities

Abstract | Full Article | PDF Published: 29 Jul 2019 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2019.954



Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

Published by

ecancer Global Foundation