Exploring the Structural Biology of Cancer
A new PDB-101 feature explains the molecular mechanisms by which cancerous mutations cause uncontrolled cell growth.
Cells in our bodies have evolved to work together, constantly communicating with each other, sharing resources, and growing and dividing only when and where needed. Normal cells that become transformed into cancer cells go rogue and grow without this cooperation with other cells in the body. "Cancer" encompasses many different diseases, but cancer cells share similar characteristics, including ignoring normal controls on growth, evading the body's built-in defenses, tuning metabolism and their surrounding environment for faster growth, and in the most severe cases, invading other parts of the body. Cells typically gain these characteristics through changes in their genomes.
Structural biologists are studying all aspects of this process, including the mechanisms that underpin damage to and repair of the genome, the way that these genetic changes lead to cancer, and ways for us to use this knowledge to discover and develop new treatments to fight cancer.