When we identify criminals in society we capture and put them in prison, execute them or rehab them. With cancer cells we do the same things: we cut them out and put them in a jar, kill them or change their behavior.  

We can kill them with toxins directly or impair cell division with drugs or radiation so that they will die when they try to divide or we can harness the immune system to slay them or all three. But the least toxic method of controlling a cancer is to rehabilitate it - change its malignant behavior.  

Changing cell behavior has been around for decades but has been limited to only those cancers under hormonal control where we could either turn on or turn off cell growth by changing hormone levels in the body. Now a whole new generation of behavior modifying drugs is exploding on the treatment scene applicable to many cancer types. We are learning how to change cancer behavior by turning on or off signaling molecules on the cell surface that act like light switches for cell behaviors.Soem drugs can act inside of cells to initiate cell death or cripple cell function or multiplication – a whole new arena of less toxic and hopeful therapies – but expensive. 

 All cancer cells in a given person are related to one another as they all came from an original genetically abnormal or injured parent cell. However each time a parent reproduces the offspring has a chance to mutate or change. So by the time a tumor becomes a detectable mass the size of a marble it will consist of about a billion cells including many generations, many siblings, many aunts and uncles, - all similar but many somewhat different. Consequently if a treatment is aimed at their similarities it will work on many cells whereas one aimed at their differences it will work on only a few.  -And we never know until we try and find out. That is why a treatment that works at first may stop working when it runs out of sensitive cells to kill and is faced with unique cousins that are a little different but resistant. That is why it is harder to kill and cure some larger cancers as they have had more cell division opportunities to create a nasty resistant relative. 

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