Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Stress, evolution and cancer

Interesting theory — stress speeds up evolution.  Full article: Does Stress Speed Up Evolution?

Implication for cancer is in the last few paragraphs; here is the excerpt:

…Austin says his experiments suggest that putting too much stress on cancer cells by hitting them with high doses of cancer drugs could accelerate their evolution to develop drug resistance. “We give the patients as much as they can tolerate, guaranteeing the emergence of resistant cancer cells,” he says, adding that the current aggressive approach to cancer treatment has largely failed.

Instead, he is culturing cancer cells on his death galaxy to find the right low-dosing and timing of cancer drugs that keep the cancer cells from spreading without killing them—hopefully delaying the evolution of resistance as long as possible.

At least in an ovarian cancer model in mice, the approach seems to work. In 2009, Robert Gatenby, a radiologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and his colleagues reported that interrupting, or down-adjusting, therapy as long as the tumor volume didn’t increase prolonged survival in these mice compared with the standard aggressive regimen. “If you give them standard high-dose therapy, the tumor can almost completely go away and then come back very rapidly and be resistant,” Gatenby says. “If you use an adaptive approach, we can consistently get control of the tumor.” Gatenby is now testing the approach in a 40-patient open clinical trial in patients with late-stage prostate cancer….

April 23, 2016 - Posted by | evolution, health | , ,

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