About Cancer Biology
The body is made up of millions of cells which together form the component parts of tissues and organs with different functions. The process of cell division creates new cells to replace any that have become old or damaged. Cell division is usually tightly controlled and regulated by specific genes and proteins. However, it can also sometimes go wrong, resulting in cancers caused by unregulated cell growth.
Researchers are investigating which genes and proteins are involved in controlling cell growth and expansion, and how they work together to form specific pathways. Research into these normal cellular processes allows scientists to identify key proteins, and the genes that encode them, that are essential for cell division and growth. It is often when these key proteins fail to function appropriately, which may be caused by a variety of factors, that loss of controlled cell growth occurs and cancers develop.
Scientists have discovered many genes, and their protein products, that have a role in causing cancers. It is hoped that as our understanding of what these genes and proteins do within a cell increases, it will lead to more insights into how cancers arise, how they can be detected and how they can be treated.