Here is the full transcript of cancer researcher Hasini Jayatilaka’s TEDx talk: How We Can Slow Down The Spread of Cancer @ TEDxMidAtlantic conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: How we can slow down the spread of cancer by Hasini Jayatilaka @ TEDxMidAtlantic
Hasini Jayatilaka – Cancer researcher
Cancer – it’s a devastating disease that takes an enormous emotional toll, not only on the patient but the patient’s loved ones as well. It is a battle that the human race has been fighting for centuries. And while we’ve made some advancements, we still haven’t beaten it.
Two out of 5 people in the US will develop cancer in their lifetime. Of those, 90% will succumb to the disease due to metastasis.
Metastasis is a spread of cancer from a primary site to a distal site through the circulatory or the lymphatic system. For instance, a female patient with breast cancer doesn’t succumb to the disease simply because she has a mass on her breast. She succumbs to the disease because it spreads to the lungs, liver, lymph nodes, brain, bone where it becomes unresectable or untreatable.
Metastasis is a complicated process — one that I’ve studied for several years now. And something that my team and I discovered recently was that cancer cells are able to communicate with each other and coordinate their movement based on how closely packed they are in the tumor microenvironment.