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Cancer Genetics

Animal Cloning and Curing Cancer

11/15/2000

Question:

Could cloning animals and transplantation help solve a cure for cancer?

Answer:

Cancer is a group of over 100 different diseases, each with their own risk factors and causes. As such, there probably will never be one single cure for cancer.

Research on cloning helps us understand how cells grow very early in the development of an animal. Since cancer is caused by abnormally growing cells, we may get some information from cloning research that could help.

Transplantation, particularly bone marrow transplantation, is already a common treatment for some cancers. After a person has a transplanted organ, however, they frequently have to take special medications to prevent rejection of the organ. These medications interfere with the body`s immune system and may actually make it more likely for cancer to occur. The study of these kinds of cancers may ultimately help us understand their cause and allow a more appropriate treatment to be developed.

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Response by:

Judith A Westman, MD Judith A Westman, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Medical Biochemistry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University