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Name: William R.
Status: Student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Why is cancer such a deadly disease? I mean, what are the properties of cancer that make it so hard to cure? All it is uncontrolled cellular mitosis, but isn't there any way to interrupt the mitosis (e.g. with colchicines, I did my research) besides killing the transformed cell with chemotherapeutic drugs? What is the actual "thing" that kills you in cancer, is it some sort of toxin (just my hypothesis)?

Thank you for your time in answering my question, it is a great service you and the many scientists at ANL are doing for curious future scientists, thank you.



Replies:
Cancer is uncontrolled cell division as you know. I believe using colchicine would also interfere with mitosis in regular cells so that would not be good. Cancer kills in a few different ways, but it usually interferes with the working of cells in the vicinity. Sometimes there are just so many cells that they pile up and crowd out the normal cells which affects the working of the organ. Sometimes in the case of brain cancer, there just is not any room for growth because the skull does not expand and the brain gets squished.

In the case of leukemia or blood cancer, the blood is flooded with immature cells that do not work the way they should and also they do not leave room for normal cells. In this case, people die of infections or spontaneous hemorrhage because they have no functioning white blood cells or no platelets for clotting.

vanhoeck



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