During the search to find a cure for cancer a great deal about the rules that govern normal life has been discovered, specifically the reproduction and development of cells. These revelations and their contribution to the fight against cancer are the focus of this volume. The book shows how scientists have explored the questions of cancer by tracing carcinogenesis to its earliest detectable, submicroscopic stages. Drawing on classic and recent research findings, the authors explain how any one of many factors (including sunlight, radiation, tobacco and certain viral infections) can combine with existing predispositions to radically alter the genetic code, turning a normal gene into cancer-causing one. They describe what we know about the mechanisms of genes that seem to promote cancer (oncogenes) and those that work to prevent and restrain it (tumour suppressor genes). The authors conclude the book with a review of current cancer research endeavors, looking ahead to possible future breakthroughs.
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