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Arizona Cancer Evolution Center

February 9

2012

Biodesign Auditorium
727 E. Tyler St. Tempe
AZ 85287

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Cancer results from a process of cellular evolution. Key cancer defenses and vulnerabilities
both arose from the ancient evolutionary transition from single-celled to multicellular
organisms. Because cellular evolution leads inexorably to cancer, organismal evolution has
led to adaptations that organize cell reproduction into patterns that are less subject to cellular
evolution. We used an agent-based computational model of evolution inside tissues to test the
hypothesis that cell differentiation is crucial to suppressing cellular evolution within the body.
The hypothesis was supported. If this most basic safeguard is compromised, all the obstacles
to cancer built by organismal evolution are quickly dismantled by cellular evolution within the
organism.