Origin of Anti-Tumor Immunity Failure in Mammals
by Ivan Bubanovic
Edition: 1st., 2004
The body of any animal can be viewed as a society or "ecosystem" whose individual members are cells, reproducing by cell division and organized into collaborative assemblies or tissues. In this "ecosystem", the cells are born, live and die under various forms of selection pressure such as territorial limitation, population size, source of nutrients provided, infectious agents, etc. The body is a highly organized society of cells whose main task is the maintenance of homeostasis of the whole organism. The failure of control mechanisms which make the cell the unit of society, marking the beginning of its "asocial" behaviour, is most frequently a malignant alteration. This process is not abrupt, nor is it based on a single event. It is, rather, a long-term process characterized mainly by mutation, competition and natural selection operating within the population of cells. The basic mechanisms controlling the cell sociability represent the first defence line against the altered cells, while the second line of defence is supposed to be made up of the immune system cells. Speaking in Darwinian terms, within the "ecosystem" of an organism, cells of the immune system operate as "predators" of the altered and mutated cells or cells infected by the intracellular parasites.