Public Release: 

Jan. 23-26 conference in Oakland, Calif., to discuss aneuploid theory of cancer

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley -- University of California, Berkeley, molecular biologist Peter Duesberg is hosting a four-day conference to examine evidence in support of the novel theory that abnormal numbers and structures of chromosomes, known as aneuploidy, cause cancer.

The invitation-only gathering of scientists and physicians is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 23, to Monday, Jan. 26, at the Waterfront Plaza Hotel in Oakland, Calif., located in Jack London Square.

Duesberg has challenged the assumption that underlies nearly all cancer research today -- that chance mutations in a handful of genes leads to the unchecked cell growth typical of cancer. The effects of changing the normal number of chromosomes, which contain thousands of genes, are far more dramatic than mutation of a few genes, Duesberg says.

In the past few decades, scientists have almost unanimously accepted a central dogma to explain cancer: that a mere four to seven gene mutations are necessary for a cell to turn into a cancer cell. Yet, many scientists find that this theory does not explain what they see in cancer cells, namely, gross changes in the number and arrangement of chromosomes. Duesberg, in a paper published in 2000, reviewed many of the inconsistencies dogging the mutation theory and presented evidence that duplicated or deformed chromosomes, a condition called aneuploidy, are responsible for cancer.

Other researchers argue that aneuploidy is one step or the first step, but not the only step, in cancer. Duesberg invited some 50 experts with a variety of viewpoints to present their research and debate the role of aneuploidy in cancer. Understanding the root cause of cancer is important, he says, because it affects everything from how cancer is diagnosed to what treatments might work.

Among the participants are:

  • Peter Duesberg, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology
  • Gert Auer, M.D. professor in the Institute of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Thomas Ried, M.D., chief of cancer genomics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
  • Wilma Lingle, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology, Tumor Biology Program, Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Walter Giaretti, Laboratory of Biophysics and Cytometry, National Institute for Cancer Research, Genoa, Italy
  • Albrecht Reith, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  • Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown


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