Doctor insights on:
How Can Mitosis Be Stopped
Can the mitosis of cancer cells be stopped by inserting the appropriate signal molecule into cells?
Hopefully: This is one of the ideas behind targeted therapy. One of the first successful approaches has been in chronic myelogenous leukemia where the abnormal protein that causes cell division at an enhanced rate is blocked by a designer molecule. This has resulted in long term remissions and preference for this approach over the prior gold standard of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Growth v. death: Apoptosis is an internal biochemical process in a cell, in which the proper triggers cause the cell to stop working and die. It is a part of the natural process of tissue remolding and restoration. Mitosis is the term for cellular division - the process by which all cells divide and proliferate. Generally a good thing unless it is a cancerous cell. ...Read more
You can't: You need to understand that cancer cells are only very slightly different in their basic biology from other cells in our body. As they evolve, they become somewhat more vulnerable to chemotherapeutic agents that kill dividing cells, mostly because they lose some of their defenses as they evolve invasiveness. Your healthy cells constantly divide -- if this fails, you're dead in just a few days. ...Read more
Not really: When Folkman discovered angiostatin as a way of controlling animal tumors it was tried as a way of controlling cancer in patients. It failed. While blood vessels at the surface of the tumor are necessary for metastasis, most if not all tumors function by anaerobic metabolism and don't need blood. To help destroy tumor treat them in a hyperbaric chamber. ...Read more
Can you tell me how understanding mitosis help you to understand leukemia and all other types of cancer?
It really doesn't: That's like saying that understanding the chemistry of burning hydrocarbons helps you understand your automobile, or understanding Newton's equations for gravity helps me understand how my parachute works. All tumors involve inappropriate cell growth but there is much, much, much, much more to it and unraveling the marvels of mitotis itself have contributed little that works against cancer. ...Read more
Read answer: In cancer, a greater percentage of cells are going through mitosis at any particular time as compared with non-cancer cells. Thus, drugs which target cells in mitosis (or about to be in it) preferentially kill those cells. But since SOME normal cells are going through mitosis too, the drugs usually have some toxicity, e.g., in the marrow, the gut, hair follicles, etc. ...Read more
Basic biology: All cells arise from previous cells by mitosis or meiosis, the latter in preparing a gamete. The "pop" wisdom that cancer cells divide more often than their benign counterparts is partly true, but the real key is that the genome has become destabilized and each mitotic division provides opportunities for a clone to become more aggressive. ...Read more
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