Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cancer Activity

The two days of class that we spent on studying the genetic causes of cancer really showed me just how easy it can be to have a gene mutate and start causing problems inside of you. With how many base pairs our genome has, even with how accurate replication is, there is bond to be a mistake in one of the genes that helps with cell fate, cell survival or gene maintainance. What I wasn't expecting to see was how some chromosomes have so many more genes that can cause cancer than others. Chromosome 17 for example had a ton of genes labeled on it that could cause cancer and it seemed as if almost 75% of the class had a mutated gene from that chromosome on their cancer card. The opposite can be said as well with some chromosomes have as few as three genes that could cause cancer within, at least that was all that had been discovered. From watching the video it was also nice to learn that the 140 or so types of cancers that we know about, there won't be many more added to that tally. The number of types of cancers is not going to infinitely increase, instead the amount found will slowly increase until it hits a number around maybe 200. I was surprised by the high frequency of the TP53 gene that helped with cell survival as well. Three of the four people in my lung cancer group had the gene on their card and many others around the room also had it on their cards as well. One gene contributing to so many kinds of cancer shows just how important some are. Also the varying number of mutated genes in a cancer patient was also strange. Some people had only two genes that were messed up while other had all the way up to five. It makes me wonder if people who have less mutated genes have a better chance of surviving their type of cancer or if the people with low and high amounts have the same chances. This activity also made me feel a bit better knowing that we do have all this information on cancer and the studies we found on the second day show how far we have come with identifying and treating it.

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