Wann werden wir den Krieg gegen den Krebs gewinnen?

Vor dreißig Jahren erklärte der amerikanische Präsident den ``Krieg gegen den Krebs''. In diesem Jahr verlieren allein in den Vereinigten Staaten jeden Tag 1.500 Männer, Frauen und Kinder ihren persönlichen Kampf gegen den Krebs. Wann wird dieser Krieg zu Ende sein?

Ich glaube bei etlichen Krebsformen wird dies bald der Fall sein. Aufgrund von Erkenntnissen aus der Grundlagenforschung stehen uns neue Methoden der Krebsbekämpfung zur Verfügung. Diese neuen Methoden ermöglichen eine raschere Diagnose und eine wirkungsvollere Behandlung. Es konnten auch neue Medikamente entwickelt werden, die an den für Krebszellen typischen molekularen Veränderungen ansetzen. Die Entdeckung dieser Veränderungen ermöglicht auch eine Vorhersage, wer aufgrund genetischer oder umweltbedingter Faktoren einem erhöhten Krebsrisiko ausgesetzt sein könnte. Diese Fortschritte werden wohl viele Leben retten.

Krebs befällt viele verschiedene Organe und Gewebe des Körpers. Obwohl Erscheinungsbild und Verlauf von Krebserkrankungen sehr mannigfaltig sein können, haben sie doch eine gemeinsame Ursache: einen genetischen Defekt. Gene sind biochemische Codierungseinheiten, die Struktur und Funktion unseres Körpers steuern. Jede Zelle unseres Körpers verfügt über den gleichen Satz von Genen, den wir je zur Hälfte von unseren Elternteilen erben. Was eine Zelle von einer anderen unterscheidet, ist die Kombination jener Gene, die in einer Zelle aktiv sind.

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