Today in BioSoc, I did a presentation about cancer, and why we have not found ‘the cure’ to cancer yet. In short, its because its not about one cure to cancer, its about finding a cure for every single type of cancer. This is difficult because every tumour has followed a different genetic path, and is caused by a different set of mutations (it usually takes about four or five genetic mutations to cause a cancer!) Therefore, it is about solving every different cancer. This is why a treatment may work for one person, but not for another person with the ‘same type of cancer.’
I went on to explain to a molecular level how chemotherapy and radiotherapy work to stop rapidly deciding cells from dividing. The problem with chemotherapy is that it cannot tell the difference between healthy radidly dividing cells, and the unhealthy/cancerous rapidly dividing cells. Cells in the hair follicles, for example, are therefore also targeted by the chemo, which is why you often see cancer patients going through chemotherapy have lost their hair.
I am hoping to elaborate on this presentation in future BioSoc sessions.