Today I learnt in my biology class that cancer cells are immortal. That left me wondering what if our whole body is made up of cancer cells? Will that make us immortal? Is it possible or why is it not possible?

  • $\begingroup$ Many cancers are deadly for a reason you know. Vote to close being pob $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Feb 26, 2017 at 9:34
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it lacks research. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Feb 26, 2017 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ This question shouldn't be closed; it's a good question and has an objective answer which @JayCkat gives. There is a difference between immortality as seen in stem cells and immortality as seen in cancer cells. There is tons of research on this kind of thing as well; you can discuss stem cell transplantation vs teratoma formation assays. $\endgroup$
    – Artem
    Feb 26, 2017 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Artem Thank you XD I really wish they don't remove my question. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2017 at 14:22

1 Answer 1



One aspect of cancer cells is that they no longer follow their programming, ie they stop doing all the work that a normal cell in that particular part of your body would do.

The next aspect is that cancer cells keep growing even when they are told to stop, even when there is no more space to grow.

Cancer cells also tend to destroy surrounding extracellular matrix in the quest for more nutrient. SO stuff like bone get deformed or just broken down leaving holes.

So if your entire body were made of cancer cells... well it would fall apart as cell stop doing their assigned job in the body, start growing without care and break down existing structure for better access to more nutrients.

What you want are immortal cells that still do their job.. stem cells.


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