I went to a fantastic talk today from a cancer biologist from UCSF. He was working on looking at fundamental biological processes, and how these canonical systems get mis-regulated and cause cancer, and what we could possibly do to fix those mis-regulations. It was so impressive to see crazy tumor responses depending on slight variations in levels of molecules we all have in every cell and rely on to stay alive. There was SO much promise, and yet so so many obstacles in everything he proposed.
This comic from PhD Comic really gets the message across.
Cancer is a ridiculous disease to work on. It isn't one disease. It is so many variations and combinations that one single "cure" isn't feasible. But what we can do is understand what makes us work and what tends to go wrong and then work to try to fix it. Or at least catch those changes when they first occur, and not when they manifest as terrible tumors.