ANU has a fascinating piece up on work they’re doing combining the unlikely fields of oncology and astrobiology to understand cancer in humans.
Dr Charles Lineweaver from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Research School of Earth Sciences at ANU said the new model, developed with Professor Paul Davies at Arizona State University, depicts cancer as an atavism – an evolutionary throwback.
“Unlike bacteria and viruses, cancer has not developed the capacity to evolve into new forms. In fact, cancer is better understood as the reversion of cells to the way they behaved a little over one billion years ago, when humans were nothing more than loose-knit colonies of only partially differentiated cells.
“We think that the tumours that develop in cancer patients today take the same form as these simple cellular structures did more than a billion years ago,” he said.
It’s an intriguing thought.