Polaris, AbbVie, Bayer back Stuart Schreiber's hunt to turn cancer treatments into cures
What happens to cancer cells that don’t die after powerful treatment? Scientists have long known that in all but a handful of cases, they don’t vanish even if the patients appear cancer-free — instead lurking somewhere, unreachable and undetectable and preparing, like a vanquished movie villain at the start of a sequel, for a return.
Research over the last decade began to suggest there was something different about these survivor cells. It wasn’t just that they might mutate. They reprogrammed themselves, like an operating system sealing itself off after too many incorrect passwords, and entered a protective state that other cells in the body have been known to enter when threatened.
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