Higher PowerScience

DNA and Cancer

bloggerman / 22 Apr, 17 /



Seemingly quiet several types of cancer ‘merely occur,’ no matter the amount of fiber we consume, how much we don’t smoke, and the way far we run daily.

Or exercise, in my case. Thanks in part to now-replaced defective hips, my running days never really happened.

That doesn’t suggest that we gonna die from cancer that is arbitrary. I believe it indicates we should consider paying a lot more attention before signs appear to testing.

DNA Code Errors: Mutation and Cancer

Cancer: 2015 and Before

After talking about oddly-under-reported ‘cancer’ news, I kept going; mostly about mutations, and why being healthy is okay:

Science and Me

I’m interested in more than just science.

However, science does interest me; and our knowledge of the universe is changing so fast that running out of fresh material doesn’t seem likely.

It’s one reason that my Friday ‘in the news’ post became my ‘science’ post while this blog was still hosted on Blogger.1

My interest in science started with a childhood fascination with dinosaurs that I never outgrew.

The Space Race helped expand my horizons, and that’s another topic. I started being aware of the creation-evolution hostilities in my teens.

At that time, I didn’t see any purpose in telling the Almighty the way the cosmos ought to be run. I became a Catholic. I nevertheless believe God’s God and I’m maybe not.

I don’t know why some Christians seem convinced that studying God’s creation threatens faith in God.

Darwin’s natural selection theory arguably getting hijacked by education reformers and liberal Anglicans didn’t, I think, help. (October 28, 2016)


Side Effect from that Victorian era fracas has motivated quite several people with faith sites to create science a concentrate — or goal — of curiosity. Locating solemn denunciations of science, especially what we’re studying development, isn’t difficult.

Reality, Reason, and Religion

‘Bible science’ may help explain why I run into folks who apparently see science as concerned with reality and reason — and religion as anything but.

A Wikipedia page says that creation science began when some American fundamentalists started making up their own “science.” That was in the 1960s.

They’ve had a measure of success.

I think they’re sincere, and I’m quite sure they are mistaken.

Some Catholics share my keen interest in science, others don’t.

Some seem as fervently convinced that a long-dead Calvinist is right as their virulently anti-Catholic counterparts.


However, many people have been scientific researchers, including St Hildegard of Bingen and Albertus Magnus. Those 2 helped lay the bases of today’s science. It had been called natural philosophy in the past.

In a sense, nobody was a “scientist” until William Whewell coined the term in 1833. And that’s yet another topic. (March 17, 2017)

Lovecraft’s “Placid Island of Ignorance” – – –

I think H. P. Lovecraft deserves credit for realizing that non-human intelligence may not have a particularly “human” appearance: or viewpoint.

At least some scientists are entertaining the same idea. I’ve talked about science, SETI, and assumptions, before. (March 17, 2017; December 16, 2016)

I’m not so impressed by Lovecraft’s attitude toward religion and science. I sympathize with him, however. A bit.


Understanding his family and ethnic history helps. Does their rants against Catholicism, commies, and rock-music, as well as recalling radio preachers from my teenager years. A fresh generation is carrying on their tradition of knowledge that is wacky and strange.

A decade or so back, a zealot broadcast his denunciation of — I am not making this up — modern man’s “effete” habit of growing beards.

In a letter, Lovecraft gave his view that religious truths “…are unjustified and the most preposterous of all speculations which may be produced regarding the cosmos….” I 'd chances that are distinct, although I don’t concur.

His view of the universe and humanity’s growing knowledge was rather bleak, too.

“… The most merciful thing on earth, I believe, is the the shortcoming of the human mind. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the middle of black seas of infinity, plus it wasn't meant that we have to voyage far. The scientific disciplines, … will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from your light to the peace and security of a fresh dark era….”(“The Call of Cthulhu,” H. P. Lovecraft (1929); via WikiQuote)

I’ve talked about Lovecraft’s “placid island of ignorance” before. (February 17, 2017; December 16, 2016)

But let ’s give credit to Lovecraft. When he composed “The Call of Cthulhu, all our issues will be solved by the science ’ approach was still pretty common. (October 30, 20-16)

Oddly enough, “The Shadow over Innsmouth” ends with the narrator revealing a real danger.

“…in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.”(“The Shadow over Innsmouth,” H. P. Lovecraft (1931); via hplovecraft.com)

Scientific discipline does religion threatens, as I keep saying. Reality is pursued by both, or should. Problem begins when or if we begin making scientific discipline, other things, or playing canasta, more significant than God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 144, 150, 2112–2114, 2500)

– – – and Being Catholic

I’m Catholic, therefore I can’t blow off realty. I shouldn’t, anyway. Some explanation may be needed by that. Or perhaps not, in case you read these science that is ‘ ’ posts sometimes.

I consider, and ’m informed, that fact is essential. Truth is amazing — whether it’s in other manners;” in “the arrangement and harmony of the cosmos or expressed in phrases, “the logical expression of the understanding of created and uncreated world. (Catechism, Prologue, 27, 74, 2500)

Religion isn’t endangered by truth. Not the variant that is Catholic. Religion is an aware and ready “assent to the full truth that God has shown.” (Catechism, 142–150)

It’s faith and reason. Using our brains is what we’re supposed to do. (“Fides et Ratio,” John Paul II (September 14, 1998); Catechism, 35, 32, 154159, 299)

I’m also told that humility is a virtue.

“HUMBLENESS: The merit where a Christian recognizes that God is the creator of all great. Humbleness prevents inordinate ambition or satisfaction, and supplies the basis for looking at God in prayer (2559). Voluntary humility could be can be defined as as ‘poorness of spirit’ (2546).”(Catechism, Glossary)

I think that God created the universe, and that it is “very good.”2 (Genesis 1:131)

Stating that I’ll consider part of world, although not the unit, looks like just about the reverse of humility since humbleness calls for accepting world.

I’m additionally told that people are reasonable. Therefore believing is a choice, not a necessity but we've freewill. God is reasonable, also. Additionally large and responsible. (Catechism, 268, 2112–2114, 1730, 1934, 1951)

Studying natural processes is a good idea. It’s part of being human, and can help us learn more about God. (Catechism, 3135, 2293)

Sometimes what we learn doesn’t fit with what we assumed about God and the universe.




When that occurs, the issue isn’t the normal world or scientific discipline, it’s not the Bible, and it’s not faith. It’s our premises.

“… God, the Creator and Ruler of everything, is in addition the Writer of the Scriptures – and that thus nothing could be established either by physics or which really can contradict the Scriptures. … Even in the event the problem is after all not fixed as well as the disagreement appears to stay, the competition should never be left; fact can not contradict truth….”(“Providentissimus Deus,” Pope Leo XIII (November 18, 1893) [emphasis mine])

1. DNA Code Errors: Mutation and Cancer

(From Getty Images, via Character, employed w/o permission.)(“Many of the chromosomal mutations in tumour cells like all these are produced by DNA-replication malfunctions”(Character)

DNA typos to blame for most cancer mutations
Heidi Ledford, Nature (March 23, 2017)

“Nearly two-thirds of the mutations that drive cancers are caused by errors that occur when cells copy DNA, mathematical models suggest.


“The findings, published in Science on 2-3 March, will be the most recent discussion in a long-running disagreement over how much the surroundings or intrinsic factors promote cancer. In addition they indicate that lots of cancer mutations aren't inherited and couldn't happen to be prevented by, for instance, making lifestyle options that are distinct. It’s a finding that may alter how research workers wage the ‘warfare on cancer’, says study coauthor Bert Vogelstein, a geneticist in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland…. â€

I agree with Bert Vogelstein. Waging the “war on cancer” depends on understanding what causes it. This study, and the one before it, should help.

Not smoking, exercise that is practical, as well as other traditional ‘prevent cancer’ guidance, is recommended. But this study suggests that coping with cancer isn’t that easy.


We’ve realized a whole lot since 1869, when Friedrich Miescher found nucleic acids. I’ve talked about DNA, Darwin, and finding a hold, before. ( March 10, 2017; Oct 2 1, 20-16)

The Human Genome Project’s initial analysis of the Human Genome in 2001 answered some questions, and raised more.

For starters, just about 2% of the genome has code to make proteins. The other 98% did therefore some people called it “junk DNA.” n’t have any clear reason to be there Not at first look.

We’ve learned that some of it controls how the protein-coding DNA works, or gets transcribed to RNA, or has another function.3

The rest may or may not do something. We’re still learning.

Maybe it’s just leftover code in the “clay” we’re made from, and that’s yet again another topic. (September 23, 2016; July 15, 2016)

Random: Not Hopeless

(From Cristian Tomasetti, Lu Li, Bert Vogelstein, via Scientific Discipline, employed w/o permission.)(Proportion of cancer-causing mutations influencing girls, by kind of cancer and trigger. Left to right: varieties where the mutations are inherited; due to DNA replication glitches are “arbitrary,” unrelated to either heredity or environment; or triggered by environmental elements.)



“…Scientists have tended to stress the function of environmental aspects in creating cancer mutations, he claims. ‘If we believe of the mutations as the enemies, and each of the enemies are outside of our edge, it’s clear the best way to keep them from getting indoors,’ Vogelstein describes. ‘But if lots of the enemies — in this situation close to two thirds — are really inside our borders, it indicates we require an entirely different strategy.’

“That strategy would emphasize early detection and treatment, in addition to prevention, he says….”
(Heidi Ledford, Nature)

Lu Li joined Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein for this year’s follow-up to the 2015 study.4 Vogelstein is a geneticist in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, an NCI-designated Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins U. in Maryland.

I think they know what they’re talking about.







The concept of the studies wasn’t to challenge the knowledge of not smoking and preventing sunburn. Vogelstein figured getting a look will be advisable. It seems like he was correct.

The first study needed a do-over, partly because the analysis only covered cancer in the United States, and didn’t include breast and prostate cancer.

This time around, the scientists looked at cancer incidence databases from 69 different countries, for 32 kinds of cancer: including those two common forms of cancer.

Like the initial one, the 20 17 research validates what we imagined; or already understood. Not obtaining cancer is determined by conclusions that are wise, having ancestors that are wholesome, and being blessed.

What’s interesting is how much each of those factors matters for various kinds of cancer.

Overall
Replication errors, about 66%
Environmental factors, 29%
Inherited mutations, 5%

Some lung tumors
Environmental factors, 65%
Replication errors, 35%

Prostate, brain, and bone cancers
Replication errors, more than 95%

The lesson here, I think, is not that trying to be healthy is a hopeless cause; that we’re doomed no matter what we do.

Pitching diving and gumption in to un-healthy dwelling, on the premise that death and life are arbitrary? That doesn’t appear realistic, either. Not to me.

The numbers do, I think, suggest that including tests for the more-probable forms of cancer in health maintenance routines are a good idea.

They also hint, maybe, at the reality behind the ‘everything causes cancer’ news items of a few decades back.

Perhaps it’s only me, but for scientific ’ was being churned out by typewriter and while it looked like every one promises that just about everything we consume, use, drink, or respire, causes cancer.

I do not miss ‘the good old days,’ and that’s still another topic.

2. Cancer: 2015 and Before


(From Science Photo Library, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)

Most cancer types ‘just bad luck’
James Gallagher, BBC News (January 2, 2015)

“Most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking, a study has suggested.

“A US team were trying to explain why some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to cancer than others.

“The results, in the journal Science, showed two thirds of the cancer types analysed were caused just by chance mutations rather than lifestyle.

“However some of the most common and deadly cancers are still heavily influenced by lifestyle….”

This can be the 2015 research that didn’t seem beyond borders, and omitted two high profiles kinds of cancer. I’ve previously discussed the followup.

The last sentence I quoted deserves, I think, emphasis. We can’t control everything, but what we do does matter.

Three Dozen Centuries, Still Learning

We’ve known about cancer for a long time.

I put the usual resource link list at the end of this post.5

However — don’t assume that anything I write, or that you find at the Mayo Clinic website, is all you need to know.

Finding a competent doctor, preferably someone who isn’t working for a get-well-quick product line, is generally a good idea.

Cancer isn’t the disorder that is sole with unusual cell development. Even though both are illnesses than disorders there’s enteropathy and hyrotoxicosis, for instance. But cancer one of the most scary.



We’ve understood about cancer at least since the final mammoths of Wrangel Island expired. That was around the time Shu-Ninua Assyria was working. We don’t understand who composed the Egyptian medical text mentioning it, about three-dozen generations back.

We call it the Edwin Smith Papyrus; maybe not the Agha Papyrus, although the manuscript was purchased by Edwin Smith from Mustafa Agha. I’ll get straight back to that, kind of. The last I noticed, it’s at the New York Academy of Medicine.

It represents what we contact “a scientific and logical way of medicine in historical Egypt.” Other Egyptian texts we've got from around that time represent a more charming knowledge of disease.6

We get cancer” is “ed by the term from Hippocrates. I’ve mentioned him. (March 19, 2017; Oct 7, 20-16) His term was καρκίνος, karkinos; significance crab or crayfish. The term became cancer” in Latin, which will be where my language selected up it.

Doctors were arguing about treating cancer with surgery or drugs two millennia back, and still are.

We are learning, though, and getting a bit better at prevention and treatment, so our arguments are somewhat better-informed now.

Mutant Mice, Macaroni, and Killer Tomatoes

Getting the kind of mind I do — I don’t urge the expertise — “mutation” reminded me of b-movies with a lot of screaming and large bugs, mice that are mutant, gene-splicing, and horizontal gene transfer.

We’re learning that the latter has been happening for a long time.

I don’t believe that’ll assist some people get any less anxious about other man-made” beings and mice, like chickens, macaroni wheat, and puppies. (October 2 1, 20-16; Oct 7, 20-16; July 22, 20-16)

Mutations are real, and don’t have much in common with movies like “Them!” “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!,” and “Hell Comes to Frogtown.”

Now that we’re learning how DNA works, scientists can produce mutations. I’m not, however, particularly concerned about real-life replays of “Tarantula.”

Real-life ‘mutants’ can be like those mutant mice in the photo: useful, and not any more scary than the usual variety.

But the new tech can be misused. So can old tech, for that matter, or anything else. (October 7, 2016; January 8, 2017)

I place an unneeded-long listing of ‘mutation’ sources close to the ending of the post.7 But that won’t prevent me from rambling on about DNA, mutations, and all that. No such chance.

When DNA replicates, the result is usually two exact copies of the original.







Even when it’s not replicating, deoxyribonucleic acid doesn’t just sit there, and sometimes gets damaged. That’s not really exactly like mutation. Our DNA has fix capabilities that are automated, but that occasionally bugs, also.

A mutation is a long-term change in a critter’s DNA base sequence. They’re at times fatal, and generally awful news. Once in a while that is great, a mutation assists the critter have significantly more offspring, live longer, as well as /or remain healthy.

That connects with evolution, and I mentioned that earlier.

Harmful or beneficial, quite a few things cause mutations: like glitchy DNA repair, molecular decay, chemicals, microcritters, or radiation. Hence movies like “Them!”

Healthy? Good!


(From Correogsk, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

We devote considerable time and effort to staying healthy or recovering health. Most of us, anyway.

But is being healthy okay?

I’ve talked about Saints, sickly and otherwise, before. (August 21, 2016)

Despite the impression some of the more syrupy ‘lives of the Saints’ books may give, misery is not required for holiness.

The brief response is — yes. So is attempting to get nicely. Well-being and life are both gifts from God. Considering pretty good care of these is recommended. Making both my main concern, not much. (Catechism, 2288, 2289)

Prayer taking actions, and is recommended, also. God created a world where the animals inside, including me, play with a role in getting things happen. (Catechism, 4 1, 306–308, 2558–2565)

Helping people that are sick discover new methods to treat disease, and get better, is additionally a good thought. It acceptable to transplant organs, supplying we don’t maim or destroy anyone to assist another. (Catechism, 2292–2296, 2300–2301)

Medical research doesn’t always include autopsies, but it can.

That’s additionally fine, even though I shouldn’t go without revealing admiration for the people whose bodies are entombed there, digging up research stuff’ in a graveyard. And I shouldn’t destroy because I’m impatient to learn what’s been occurring inside, a person who's perishing. (Catechism, 2258, 2276–2279, 2299, 2301)

The rules aren’t as arbitrary as they might seem, and that’s — another topic.

Togas and Frankenstein’s Alchemy Project

Many cultures are uneasy with autopsies. It was that long ago that these were were flat out prohibited in elements of “Christian” Europe.

That may explain the lasting popularity of Shelley’s “Frankenstein” tale. Mary, not Percy. It was Victor, actually, and I’m rambling again. (August 5, 2016)

So far as I could tell, the aversion to autopsies didn’t come from improvement-loathing clerics, feeding on the ignorance of a rabble that is superstitious. (October 30, 20-16; July 15, 20-16)

The division of Western civilization inherited much of the early Roman pair of scruples and values, which had completely pagan roots a long time before before our Lord arrived.


Old Roman worth stadium€™t especially awful, but let’s get a hold: the Roman Senate didn't write the Decalogue. I don’t need to put on a toga to be a Christian.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with examining the organic world: including our anatomies. We don’t worship character — that’d be idolatry — therefore we are able to analyze it without worry of violating ‘the spirits.’ (Catechism, 282–283, 2112–2114)

Greco-Roman culture and beliefs didn’t allow autopsies. That’s why Galenus studied monkeys. I’ve mentioned him before. (July 15, 2016)

Now’s medical-science and engineering arguably exists in huge part because Christian Religion’s approach toward the analysis of nature enables other scientific investigation as well as autopsies. Where people accept the approach toward utilizing our brains, anyhow.

I’ve mentioned also. Additionally Lovecraft ’s isle of ” ignorance and I’m beginning to repeat myself. Time to stop, and begin on another post.

More about science, health, and doing what’s right:

Knowledge: Opening the Gift
(March 26, 2017)
Sweet Potatoes, Genes, and Long Life
(October 21, 2016)
Alchemy, Science, Life, and Health
(October 16, 2016)
Bioethics and a Three-Parent Baby
(October 7, 2016)
Polio, Zika, and Using Our Brains
(August 21, 2016)

1 My old posts are still there. Some of the content is quite dated by now:

2 “Good” and “idiot-proof safe” are not the same thing. I’ve talked about that, and our place in the universe, before:

3 DNA:

4 Studying cancer causes:

5 Still learning about cancer:

Wikipedia

Mayo Clinic

6 We’ve got more records from ancient Egypt’s multi-millennia history than we do for some civilizations. But we don’t have everything:

7 Mutations:

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