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Author Topic: Is it possible to find a positive use for cancer's runaway growth?  (Read 1073 times)

Offline thedoc

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Bruce Rodgers asked the Naked Scientists:
   Is it possible to find a positive use for cancer's runaway growth?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 14/06/2016 02:50:02 by _system »


 

Offline chiralSPO

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Well, the first viable "immortal" human cell line (HeLa cells) was isolated from a cancerous tumor removed from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. This is actually a very complex and ethically grey story, but a huge amount of scientific progress has been maid using these cells.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HeLa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrietta_Lacks
 

Offline evan_au

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Quote from: Bruce Rodgers
a positive use for cancer's runaway growth?
From a certain point of view, a cancer is a cell line that is so damaged that it has forgotten that it was once part of a larger organism, and now every cell is just focused on surviving for itself.

Each cell just keeps dividing.

A cancer cell acts like any number of micro-organisms that just divide as often as they can.

We are incredibly dependent on those tiny mindless micro-organisms (and the many microbiomes they form).
 

Offline Villi

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If you want to grow and culture cells fast, cancer is great. Having rapidly dividing cells, like the HeLa line, lets you make lots of other stuff fast like viruses, proteins, etc. that you can purify out and use for other processes.
 

Offline puppypower

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Although disgusting, rapid growth may allow us to use cancer as a source of food for animals. You denature it with heat, so it is dead, but full of nutrition.

Say we learn to fully control cancer, we can use it as a tool. Rapid cell growth could come in handy in the bio-chemical processing industry, for making large scale tailored chemical reactors.

Once the vat of cancer goop is prepared, we impose cellular differentiation control and turn the vat into a pseudo life form than has production tasks. If the cancer cells for the goop were from humans, and therefore having all the sound genes needed for kidneys; start with skin cancer cells, we turn the blob into a giant pseudo-kidney emulsion, for processing human body fluids on a large scale.

You need to understand the water side of life to make this possible. With the organic approach cancer is the enemy and never a useful tool.
 

Offline Villi

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Isn't Deadpool's power that he's cancerous? That's positive if you want to regrow some person's tissue and make them heal you just tweak their oncogenes and tumour suppressors temporarily.
 

Offline RD

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... the first viable "immortal" human cell line (HeLa cells) was isolated from a cancerous tumor removed from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. This is actually a very complex and ethically grey story ...

If a similar useful cancer cell-line was discovered today, would the person, (or their heirs), own reproduction-rights to the cell-line, and get a share of the profits ?.

[ If you don't own your cells, cancerous or otherwise, what do you own ? ].
 

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