Drosophila and the hallmarks of cancer
SourceAdvances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology
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: Cancer was the disease of the twentieth century. Today it is still a leading cause of death worldwide despite being intensively investigated. Abundant knowledge exists regarding the pathological and molecular mechanisms that drive healthy cells to become malignant and form metastatic tumors. The relation of oncogenes and tumor suppressors to the genetic trigger of carcinogenesis is unquestionable. However, the development of the disease requires many characteristics that due to their proven role in cancer are collectively described as the "hallmarks of cancer." We highlight here the historic discoveries made using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster and its contributions to biomedical and cancer research. Flies are utilized as a model organism for the investigation of each and every aspect of cancer hallmarks. Due to the significant conservation between flies and mammals at the signaling and tissue physiology level it is possible to explore the genes and mechanisms responsible for cancer pathogenesis in flies. Recent Drosophila studies suggest novel aspects of therapeutic intervention and are expected to guide cancer research in the twenty-first century.