bannerimage

Why Haven't We Cured Cancer?

Why Not?

You may be asking, "If it is so easy to strategically kill cells and shrink tumors, why hasn't cancer been cured?"

In the context we're discussing, it sounds easy to make a mutant using cloning and put it into cancer cells. And, if it were this simple, cancer would have been cured by now! Unfortunately, not only is it difficult to figure out which proteins in the cell play a role in histone degradation, but changing that protein’s function may also affect the cells in ways that we don’t want it to!

For example, if we mutate the command proteins so that the instructions for making histones are not "shredded", we may be affecting the cell in other ways, too. That command protein may have also had another function. So, even though the cell could strategically kill itself, the lack of command protein may lead to other unwanted circumstances within the cell.

Do Not Enter

Also, cells are SMART! Cell membranes, composed of a phospholipid bilayer, are like the security guards for the cell. They won’t let just anything into the cell! Scientists first have to trick the cell to allow mutant genes to enter the cell. There is no "disguise" that can be applied to every gene created with cloning. As with most scientific research, finding the right combination of "disguises" that prevents the cell from rejecting the mutant gene is a lot of trial and error and could take years!

Gene Allowed to Enter Human Cell
Gene NOT Allowed to Enter Human Cell

If protein research hasn't yet led to a cure for cancer, what else is out there for treatment options? Is there a cure for cancer? What is the point of histone research if we can't use it yet? What else are scientists working on?

Next Page