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Cancer, What Is It?

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. There are many types of cancer including blood, breast, colon (gut), liver or prostate. All of these cancers are studied at the LBI-CR with the goal to improve our knowledge on these diseases in order to make new more effective treatments available.

source: WHO

The image shows an intact gut epithelium of the colon (left) stained for DNA (blue) and the membrane protein ZO-3 (red). The tissue organisation is disrupted upon loss of the tumor suppressive function of Stat5, which constitutes an early tumor initiating event.