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Life depends upon the ability of cells to evaluate and adapt to a constantly changing environment and to maintain internal stability to allow essential biochemical reactions to occur. Ions and ion channels play a crucial role in this process and are essential for survival. Alterations in the expression of the transmembrane proteins responsible for maintaining ion balance that occur as a result of mutations in the genetic code or in response to iatrogenically induced changes in the extracellular environment is a characteristic feature of oncogenesis and identifies cancer as one of a constellation of diseases known as channelopathies. The classification of cancer as a channelopathy provides a different perspective for viewing the disease. Potentially, it may expand opportunities for developing novel ways to affect or reverse the deleterious changes that underlie establishing and sustaining disease and developing tolerance to therapeutic attempts at treatment. The role of ions and ion channels and their interactions in the cell’s ability to maintain ionic balance, homeostasis, and survival are reviewed and possible approaches that mitigate gain or loss of ion channel function to contribute to new or enhance existing cancer therapies are discussed.





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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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