Science: Cracking Cancer's Code

Researchers are learning how genes start tumors -- or stop them

Just 10 days earlier, the laboratory cultures had all contained the same number of microscopic cancer cells. Now even an untutored eye could tell the difference. Globs of wildly dividing cell colonies filled half the flasks, while in the others the cells refused to multiply. Reason: a research team, led by Johns Hopkins University oncologist Bert Vogelstein, had endowed the quiescent cells with a protective device that the dividing ones lacked, in this case a normal copy of a gene that acts as a circuit breaker, shutting down growth. The scientists had found a way, at least in theory, to stop...

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