What is Cancer
The human body is composed of trillions of individual cells. Each of these individual cells, in turn, contains approximately three billion base pairs
of nucleic acids, which make up the DNA enclosed within its nucleus. These nucleic acids encode the estimated 30,000 genes that, among other things,
regulate the cell cycle of growth, reproduction, and death that must be repeated trillions upon trillions of times over the life of a single human being.
These genes order the cells in our bodies to act in certain ways by producing gene-specific proteins at specific times. It has been estimated that most cells within the human body are replaced every six to twelve months. In order for this to happen, the genetic code contained within each cell must be precisely replicated from one generation of cells to the next.
Given that the astounding amount of genetic information stored within trillions of individual cells that the body frequently regenerates, occasional errors in replication are inevitable. Outside influences such as viral and bacterial infections, radiation from too much sun exposure, toxins from sources such as cigarette smoke, chronic physiological conditions such as obesity or diabetes, and adverse life-style factors such as stress and sleep deprivation can all greatly increase the frequency of these replication errors. If enough of these errors accumulate over time, they can begin to change the makeup of the signaling proteins, which the cells of our bodies depend upon to tell them when to grow, when to divide, and when it's time to die.
When genes mutate in this way, the delicate balance between our growth signaling proteins (the ones that provide the "go" signals to our cellular reproduction machinery) and our regulatory and/or editing proteins (the ones that serve as the "brakes") can be disturbed. If enough of an imbalance between these cellular messengers is created, uncontrolled and abnormal cell growth can then result. The general name given to this hyper-proliferative condition is cancer.
Fortunately for us, our bodies have developed several highly effective defense mechanisms to counteract cancer before it can take hold. Our first line of defense consists of specialized enzymes that can literally "proof-read" our DNA as it's being replicated and instantly corrects any errors of replication that may be found. The vast majority of genetic replication errors that occur are detected and repaired in this way. Our second line of defense is our cells' ability to spontaneously initiate apoptosis (cellular suicide) if the genetic damage is too severe to be repaired. Our third line of defense can be found in the very same immune system upon which we all depend to protect us from the many outside pathogens to which we are exposed every day. NovaRx's core technologies engage the immune system's natural abilities to fight cancer.