All throughout history, humanity has been seeking eternal life and longevity. It’s not a new quest. Nearly everyone in the medical field is working to prolong life and allow us all to be closer and available for our loved ones.
Cancer, to put it plainly, is a label for “failure to keep consistent DNA”.
Our DNA and protein structures replicate at an alarming rate. Faster than most of us would imagine. It’s mentioned that some parts of the human body replace themselves every few years. New skin cells, new hairs, muscles, and livers healing from alcohol. Billions of cells are replicated to heal damaged tissue. Billions of cells replicate to grow us into adulthood and beyond.
When replication occurs, there is a very-very-very small chance that the replication will have an error.
ACGTACGT becomes ACGTTCGT
In most cases, this is fine. A skin cell with an error in it will be created, it will live, it will duplicate, and then the skin cell will die. A human cell has 3.4 billion nucleotides, where only 2% are critical for protein expression. This allows small benign errors to not have an impact.
However, some specific genes in that 2% are critical for cell growth and cell death. When the instructions for “grow every 5 days; die after 5 days” becomes “grow every 5 days; die every 15 days”, we call that “cancer”. Likewise it can also end up as “grow every 2 days; die every 5 days”, thus the equation for replication becomes unbalanced.
With more cells growing than they are dying, there is a greater and greater need for resources; cancer ends up stealing vital nutrients from other critical organs.
It is not that science is holding back, but moreover science is still trying to understand it. It’s important to know how it works, how to control it, and how to make sure we don’t cause additional imbalance.
When technology is created without rigorous testing, it’s working on assumptions. And assumptions can possibly hurt a loved one rather than help them. Worse, it may actually kill them.
Today, at the cutting edge of cancer research, research is dealing with the billions of permutations that might occur. Some cancers are “grow every 2 seconds; die never”. Some are “grow every 5 days; die never”. Some are “grow 16 times every 1 second; die every 5 days”. Each one requires a different approach, therapy, or method of management.