Cell Cycle and Cancer

Director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Richard Pestell, on the links between the cell cycle and cancer, the role of kinases, and new possible treatments

videos | February 10, 2015

How is cancer related to the cell cycle? When did people first discover that cells are able to divide? Director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Richard Pestell tells the story of cancer and the cell cycle.

Well the story of the cell cycle and the story of cancer have for hundreds of years been really two separate types of stories. I’d like to share with you how those two stories began, and how those two stories have come together.

So one of the questions that have long been fundamental for humans is understanding how this regenerative process works. I’m sure that in ancient times, well before the Greeks, it was known that cells divided in a mature organism because a wound ultimately results in repair, and the repair process involves the division of cells at the side of the wound which come together to heal.

It’s very important in our own thinking moving forward to take into account that inactivating kinases can have other types of effects. The kinase activity could also reduce the abundance of cyclin D1. So our laboratory has shown over the last fifteen years that there are other types of functions for cyclin D1, which may be important in promoting the tumor phenotype. In particular, the cyclin D1 gene not really does it bind as part of an enzyme, it also binds to the promoter regulatory regions of genes, and turns on the expression of genes.

Director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Executive Vice President Thomas Jefferson University, MB, MD, PhD, FACP, FRACP, MBA
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