Despite the 40-year war on cancer, very limited progress has been made in developing a cure for the disease. This failure has prompted the reevaluation of the causes and development of cancer. One resulting model, coined the atavistic model of cancer, posits that cancer is a default phenotype of the cells of multicellular organisms which arises when the cell is subjected to an unusual amount of stress. Since this default phenotype is similar across cell types and even organisms, it seems it must be an evolutionarily ancestral phenotype.
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