Cancer is as old as multicellular life itself, and the biology of cancer is intertwined with human developmental biology, said Uttam Sinha, MS, MD, medical director of head and neck surgery at the Keck Medical Center at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. Acknowledging this relationship is key to better management of the disease, Dr. Sinha said in the Joseph H. Ogura Memorial Lecture, delivered during the 118th annual meeting of the Triological Society, held as a part of the Combined Otolaryngology Sections Meeting.
Explore this issue:June 2015
Since President Nixon declared a war on cancer in 1971, cancer incidence has continued to rise; it’s predicted to be the number one killer in the world by 2020. “So we’ve got to do something today,” Dr. Sinha said. He proposed thinking about cancer treatment and management in a new way—both a bottom-up approach in which data leads to knowledge and a top-down approach in which an understanding of nature leads to data.
Cancer and Human Developmental Biology
“Carcinogenesis is an ancient property of multicellular life with a deep root,” Dr. Sinha said. It’s “widespread and pervades the entire biosphere.” Plants and sponges and fish all get tumors, he noted.