Cancer. Approaching a universal molecualr mechanism?
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that cancer is a genetic disease, arising from mutations in DNA. These mutations alter the function or synthesis of two groups of proteins, which are the products of either proto-oncogenes or anti-oncogenes. Of the more than 30 proto-oncogenes identified, ras proto-oncogenes are most frequently found to be mutationally activated (to oncogenes) in human tumours. Developments leading to current understanding of the function of ras proto-oncogenes and of the retinoblastoma anti-oncogene are reviewed. Based on the involvement of all known oncogenes and anti-oncogenes in cellular signal transduction pathways, it is suggested that a general model for cancer at the molecular level may become a reality.
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