Cancer is a complex set of diseases and only thanks to advances in genomic techniques have researchers begun to understand, at a cellular and molecular level, the mechanisms which are disrupted in cancer cells, a prerequisite for developing effective strategies to treat these diseases.
One clear example of this is breast cancer. It has long been known that hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone encourage the proliferation of cancer cells. Because of this, one of the most common treatments is the administration of hormone receptor blockers. The block, however, affects all the cells of the body not only the cancer cells, and causes a number of side effects in patients. Additionally, most cancers develop resistance after a time and continue to grow despite anti-hormone therapy. To treat these patients it is necessary to understand the mechanisms that trigger the proliferation, which will allow their direct inhibition.