Monday, March 20, 2017

Cancer Activity Reflection

  • Three things I learned from this activity.  
    • There isn’t a set formula for cancer.  Even within a single type of cancer, like leukemia, different genes and different numbers of genes can cause uninhibited cell growth that result in tumors.  
    • There are some chromosomes that contain more genes responsible for cancer than others.  In my groups, chromosomes 7, 9, and 17 were the main sources of cancer genes.  
    • Scientists have split cancer genes into three categories based on their functions: cell survival, cell fate, and genome maintenance.  We had discussed whether genes were oncogenes or tumor suppressors, but we had yet to learn what the functions of those two types of genes were, and how their functions would play into them causing cancer.  
  • Two things that surprised me.  
    • I was surprised that there were so many different ways to get a single type of cancer.  I had never really thought about the steps that the body goes through when it begins to have cells proliferate uncontrollably.  Once we started learning about cancers and I began to understand that multiple genes are usually involved in development of a cancer, I thought of it similar to the one-gene-one-enzyme idea: each type of cancer is produced by a single combination; there is only one way to produce each cancer type.  The truth is, there are multiple ways for a cancer to develop, different combinations that will lead to the same type of cancer.  
  • One question I still have.  
    • I am still, naturally, wondering how each of these genes operates specifically.  What part of the cell cycle do the play a part in?  Why does a mutation cause cancer?  I am curious about the pathways for each of these genes, even though it is unrealistic to learn about each of these with my lack of time.  But I might research at least a couple of them, perhaps the three I had on my leukemia card.  

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