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Surprising Science

A New Cancer Revelation

A new theory of tumor cells posits that they are relics of our distant evolutionary past. For this reason, say some scientists, cancer will ultimately succumb to modern therapies.

The history of cancer has been given a new twist by some scientists who see the disease as a relic of our ancestors’ evolution. “Cancer remains a formidable foe even 40 years after Richard Nixon officially declared war on it. A new and controversial hypothesis now offers hope that the war can ultimately be won. It suggests tumours have a limited ability to evade modern therapies—a consequence of the idea that cancer is our most distant animal ancestor, a ‘living fossil’ from over 600 million years ago.”


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