Article Review: Turning Ecology and Evolution Against Cancer

LeonardRev. Dr. Leonard M. Hummel
Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care
Gettysburg Seminary
Gettysburg, PA 17325

GayleWoloschakGayle E. Woloschak,
Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago IL;
Zygon Center for Religion and Science,
Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, IL;


Turning Ecology and Evolution Against Cancer
Kirill S. Korolev, Joao B. Xavier & Jeff Gore
Journal name: Nature Reviews Cancer
Volume: 14, Pages:371–380
Year Published: (2014)
DOI: 17 April 2014


Our previous youtube entry summarized the therapeutic implications of considering cancer to be a disease of evolutionary development.  This entry, from Nature Reviews Cancer, provides detailed analysis of recent research findings on the ways in which “thinking about the cells that make up a tumour as an endangered species [allows for] cancer vulnerabilities [to] become more apparent.”

Improved scientific understanding of the evolutionary features of cancers has born a particularly good fruit: the increased ability to intervene as the disease develops.  To the degree that we understand cancers to be a phenomena of evolution, to that degree we are thereby enabled to treat and, in some cases, to cure those with it.  That is, the more we understand how cancers progress according to evolutionary principles, the better we are to able adapt to them and, in some cases, to create ways to overcome them.  To be sure, evolution is the very dynamism that predicts that cancers will always develop somewhere, sometime.  But with our understanding of the ways in which cancers are evolutionary events, we may now better predict their ways and, through various interventions, outflank their development.


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