The New York Times Covers PNRI’s Breakthrough Research on Ancient Cancer in Clams

This week, The New York Times featured Dr. Michael Metzger’s groundbreaking research on transmissible cancer in clams in: Bizarre Cancer Has Been Spreading Among Shellfish for Centuries, Studies Find.

Dr. Metzger and a team of international collaborators traced the evolution of cancer cells in clams dating back more than 200 years. What they uncovered was nothing short of extraordinary—widespread genomic mutations and instability within these cancer cells—something that is typically lethal to cancer cells. And yet, this genetic changeability may explain how the contagious cancers have survived for so long. 

“This work offers us a window into the evolution of these amazingly long-lived cancers and changes our understanding of how cancer cells can survive to continue to infect their hosts despite massive genomic rearrangement and mutation.”

Michael Metzger, PhD
Assistant Investigator

Their findings, recently published in the journal Nature Cancer, shed new light on how cancer evolves and open doors to innovative strategies for preventing cancer across various species, including humans.

You can read more about PNRI’s pioneering research and innovative partnerships in this New York Times article.  Stay tuned for more updates on this fascinating breakthrough and its potential implications for the fields of genetics and cancer research!