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Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences$
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Oren Harman and Michael R. Dietrich

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226569871

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226570075.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

The Origins of “Dynamic Reciprocity”

The Origins of “Dynamic Reciprocity”

Mina Bissell’s Expansive Picture of Cancer Causation

(p.96) 6 The Origins of “Dynamic Reciprocity”
Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences

Anya Plutynski

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses Mina Bissell's pathbreaking research on cancer. Along with her colleagues and students, Bissell focused her attention on how the causal pathways regulating cell behavior were a two way street. Healthy cells’ and cancer cells’ behavior are both highly context-dependent. The pathway to this insight was not direct. Bissell’s work began with research into cellular metabolism. As a result of this early research, she found that cells can “change their fate” – revert to, or activate, functions not typical of cells in the differentiated state. This had important implications for our understanding of cancer's etiology and treatment. Bissell - among others - emphasized in her research that it was not simply cell intrinsic properties – such as mutations to “oncogenes” and “tumor suppressor” genes – that determine the typical behaviors of cancer cells, but also a variety of extrinsic properties in the surrounding environment: metabolic and other signaling molecules, the extracellular matrix, and tissue architecture.

Keywords:   cancer, tissue microenvironment, signaling, differentiation, oncogenes, developmental biology, metabolism, Mina Bissell

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