Just out from Harvard University Press, DeGregori's book takes a sophisticated ecological perspective on cancer evolution within the body, and the dramatic clinical implications. The reviews below give a flavor for the advances he describes and extends. Highly recommended.
“To paraphrase Dobzhansky, cancer only makes sense in the light of evolution. In Adaptive Oncogenesis: A New Understanding of How Cancer Evolves inside Us, DeGregori challenges the commonly held view that it takes time for a normal cell to mutate into a cancer cell. He makes the compelling case that the ability to select against cancer becomes weaker as an individual gets older and the odds of reproduction decline.”—Angelika Amon, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
“Adaptive Oncogenesis: A New Understanding of How Cancer Evolves inside Us is a highly readable and entertaining book, offering a fascinating new look at cancer through an evolutionary and ecological lens. With novel insights and thoughtful observations, James DeGregori guides his audience through the promise of new ideas, examining novel applications of Darwin’s principles as well as modern technological advancements connected to cancer biology and treatment.”—Robert A. Gatenby, Moffitt Cancer Center
“DeGregori’s vision of cancer as an adaptive ecosystem is insightful and cogent. Adaptive Oncogenesis: A New Understanding of How Cancer Evolves inside Us, an evolutionary explanation for the risk of cancer as we age, is a provocative and refreshing revision of the prevailing gene-centric paradigm.”—Mel Greaves, The Institute of Cancer Research
“With engaging prose and an authoritative review of new research, Adaptive Oncogenesis: A New Understanding of How Cancer Evolves inside Us corrects the fundamental attribution error that has focused cancer research on malignant cells and their genes. Adaptive oncogenesis, or ‘EcoOncogenesis,’ shows that the ecosystems surrounding cells are equally important, responsible for creating selection forces that speed or slow the evolution of cancer. With huge implications for prevention and treatment, this book is required reading for cancer researchers and clinicians, and a pleasure read for anyone who appreciates fascinating new science.”—Randolph Nesse, Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University
“To understand how and why tumors progress, James DeGregori argues that we must apply evolutionary principles to cancer. This book is a seamless discussion of natural evolutionary processes, ranging from longevity in rodents to bacterial antibiotic resistance, and drawing parallels to tumorigenesis. It is a must-read for everyone who wants to understand tumor evolution.”—Kornelia Polyak, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
“At every point in our lives, the body holds the mutations necessary to cause cancer; why then does cancer develop primarily at certain times or after specific exposures? With crisp thinking and engaging prose, James DeGregori’s surprisingly readable book argues that cancer is a disease caused by damaged tissues rather than gene mutations. The implications of this revolutionary work have the potential to change the focus of cancer research, and especially research on cancer prevention, with emphasis on using the body’s own calculus of natural selection to keep cancers in check.”—Garth Sundem, author of Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Reveal Lab-Tested Secrets to Surfing, Dating, Dieting, Gambling, Growing Man-Eating Plants, and More!