Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Does immortality of cancer cells carry a paradoxical meaning since that cancer will eventually kill its host?

So one day, your body's brain cells are merrily exchanging neurotransmitters and electrical impulses, when a gamma ray penetrates your skull, perforates a neuron, and disrupts its DNA.

Mutation leads to errors, and the accumulation of errors lead to a malignant, cancerous tumor which begins setting up shop in your frontal cortex.

Most cancer cells (if not all, I'm not sure) lack the mechanism of "apoptosis", which leads a cell to terminate itself after a certain period of time or for various other reasons, which essentially makes them immortal.

If God exists and created cancer, is there some paradoxical meaning hidden in the way such a cancer left unchecked ravages its host until the host can no longer support it?

Is God trying to tell us something through cancer?


"A HeLa cell (also Hela or hela cell) is an immortal cell line used in scientific research. The cell line was derived from cervical cancer cells taken from Henrietta Lacks, who died from her cancer on October 4, 1951.


HeLa cells are termed "immortal" in that they can divide an unlimited number of times in a laboratory cell culture plate as long as fundamental cell survival conditions are met (i.e. being maintained and sustained in a suitable environment). There are many strains of HeLa cells as they continue to evolve by being grown in cell cultures, but all HeLa cells are descended from the same tumor cells removed from Ms. Lacks. It has been estimated that the total number of HeLa cells that have been propagated in cell culture far exceeds the total number of cells that were actually in Henrietta Lacks' body."

16 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Cancer cells are not immortal. The cells just don't break down the way other cells do, but they will eventually die......when their carrier does

  • 1 decade ago

    No, it just means there is no underlying significance to "immortality".

    I find it more significant that medical research is so screwed up and self-defeating. As the Wikipedia article says: "The USSR and the USA had started to cooperate in the war on cancer launched by President Richard Nixon and then it was found the cells exchanged were contaminated by HeLa. Gold asks how much time, money and energy was wasted in the war against cancer because of HeLa contamination. In his epilogue, Gold contends that the HeLa problem was amplified by emotions, egos, and a reluctance to admit mistakes, saying 'It's all human - an unwillingness to throw away hours and hours of what was thought to be good research...worries about jeopardizing another grant that's being applied for, the hurrying to come out with a paper first. And it isn't limited to biology and cancer research. Scientists in many endeavors all make mistakes, and they all have the same problems'."

    Nowadays, scientific research is all about making or saving money. One recently funded "cancer" research project was investigating what causes hunger, because obesity is linked to some types of cancer. It wasn't going to cure anything but it was certain to safely produce some kind of "result". Meanwhile, any unproven, experimental research goes begging because no one wants to take a chance on a possible false lead. Big Pharma spends far more on marketing and establishing existing products in new markets than on basic research. So nothing changes. As a cancer patient myself, I am intensely frustrated at the current uselessness of "cancer research". I'm facing a strong prospect of a painful death in a couple of years because no one wants to pay the price of medical progress.

    I suppose, philosophically, you could say there is an irony in the "immortality" of cancer. It is allegorical to the idea that immortality is something to be valued and pursued. The truth is, life is about change, not just growth, about adaptation, not security. People and institutions that value their survival too much can become monstrous, "demonic", "cancerous". I am making my peace with death, but that does not excuse the intellectual cowardice I see in life.

  • 1 decade ago

    Immortalized cancer cell lines are not the same as cancer in the body.

    And HeLa is a pain in the butt, creeping up and appearing in other cultures. It's never happened to me, since I primarily work with suspension culture, so adherent cells get tossed out when we feed the lines, but I've heard nightmares.

    Edit: Also, by your standards, George Otto Gey is God. And since he's dead, God is dead, and has been since 1970.

    Source(s): Do this for a living.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In fact if we were to live forever we would eventually get cancer as it is formed by a somatic mutation of the cells, funnily enough if the chemical that acts as a kill Switch to our cells does not activate then they become cancer cells......I suppose cancer would be god's insurance policy to ensure that we don't live forever....

    PS. Hate to sound like the wet blanket here but cancer is a pretty touchy subject, maybe you shouldn't be blaming it on God..

    PPS. Forgot to add, cancer cells need a host in order to, not immortal...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Cancer cells aren't "immortal" -- even if they stopped multiplying in your brain after just a few million were made, so that they were there but doing no real damage, when your body died, they'd die to.

    And they're not immortal in culture, either -- stop the flow of nutrients, they all die. They lack the self-destruction mechanism of some other cells (not all cells have that -- stem cells don't, for instance), but they're not "immortal."

    And god doesn't exist. :)


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Though not immortal, we breed fast enough to stay ahead of our mortality.

    We are a cancer upon the Earth.

    Perhaps God is trying to tell us that we will be our own end.

    I have to admit I have a certain grudging respect for a Deity that has that kind of sense of irony. Not enough to believe, but enough to be impressed, all the same.

  • terd
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I'm just curious: Does Fireball actually think?

    And yes. God sends messages through cancer. You can get cancer from pretty much anything nowadays.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    God and His children will be around long after cancer cells.

  • 1 decade ago

    You know, I think it is unlikely that any God may be trying to send us a message through cancer... That seems like a bit of a mean message.

  • 1 decade ago

    yes, you can manipulate the dna of a cancer cell to make people immortal in the future

    Source(s): telomere chains and programmed cell death
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