In 10 seconds? Nerves play an underappreciated but important part in tumor growth and development. Targeting nerves in tumors represents a unique and promising approach to cancer treatment.

Nerves are important in tumors? Yes! Our nerves are internal circuit boards that transmit chemical information throughout our bodies and to our brains. Nerves are necessary for patterning and shaping organ development and new cancer tissue is no exception. To this point, it has been shown in animal models that as tumors transition from pre-cancer to cancer, their nerve density doubles–similar to what occurs during tissue regeneration. Higher nerve density in tumors in mice models has also been correlated with more aggressive disease. However, there are many different types of nerves which perform distinct functions. The implications that nerves have in cancer depend greatly on the specific type of cancer and specific type of nerve.

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