Many experts call the cancer biological bad luck: it was found that in two of three cases the disease is caused by random mutations. And generally recognized risk factors cause only a third of the diseases, and then some.
But why is the incidence of cancer is not one hundred percent? What is holding back the development of tumors? A curious explanation is offered, the Duo of researchers from USA and Germany.
In contrast to the alien infection, for example, viral, cancer initially develops inside the body. This would seem to give malignant cells an advantage.
“If a thief wants to enter your home, he must figure out how to crack the lock on the door. But cancer cells have the keys to your home. How you defend against them? As you defend against the attacker, who knows everything that you know, and has all the same tools and keys that you have? Answer: you make the key usage cost is very expensive,” says co-author Michael Lachman (Michael Lachmann), a biologist-theoretician from the Institute of Santa Fe.
Together with a colleague he identified two factors that hinder the spread of cancer. It “costs” to production of growth factors (those keys cracker) and the benefits for neighboring cells.
Explain what growth factors are substances that stimulate the growth and reproduction of cells. They function as signaling molecules that determine the interaction between cells.
According to scientists, when a single cancer cell begins to create growth factors for its further development and division, it is, firstly, is facing considerable energy costs, and secondly, it ensures that the resources of the neighboring healthy cells. In the end, the malignant cell loses its ability of growth and division.
Normal cells are adapted to such competition, and therefore unable to synthesize growth factors even to his own detriment. The difference is that the damage is not fatal.
I Wonder what the basis of this idea is the concept handicap. It suggests that in evolutionary systems, some signals are too costly to animals: the costs exceed the benefits.
a Classic example of a costly signal is the peacock’s tail, or rather its size, indicating the quality of a genome of the male. Since a long tail is more difficult to fly from predators, well-adjusted only male to survive until reproduction. In this case, luxurious tail will serve as a sort of quality mark for females.
on the other hand, a sick bird will not have enough energy resources for growing a long tail and, thus, will not be able to “spoof” the signal about his so-called evolutionary fitness.
According to the handicap principle, the cancer cell is similar to an unhealthy peacock, which is not able to attract the attention of females and to continue the race.
However, in this case we are talking about a single cell trying to penetrate a healthy population. Obviously, if there are lots of cells, some of them somehow survive and continue to spread, leveraging other mechanisms.
“Cancer is incredibly complex, and our model is relatively simple. Nevertheless, we believe that this is an important step to understand cancer from the point of view of evolution,” says Lachman.
read More about their work, the authors report in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.
by the Way, before “News.Science” wrote about another interesting hypothesis evolutionary biologists: they suggested that multicellular protects against contagious cancer sexual reproduction.