1. GENES and CANCER
All cancer is genetic…..the result of a normal gene that mutates. Many cancers result from a dominant gene mutation and the mutated, cancer causing gene, is referred to as Oncogene (ONC). Other cancers result from a recessive gene mutation and the cancer causing gene is known as Tumor Suppressor Gene (TSG).
Most cancers begin with one mutated cell known as the ‘founder cell’ and excessive proliferation emanating from that one cell leads to cell accumulation and eventually the formation of a tumor. ONC and TSG mutations cause excessive cell proliferation either by abnormal increased mitosis or abnormal diminished apoptosis.
As long as the tumor is localized at the site of origin and has not spread it is referred to as a benign, non-life threatening, tumor. However as time goes on, many tumor cells may leave the original tumor site and metastasize, or migrate throughout the body, and become a life threatening cancer.
Some questions we will deal with in the program are: What are the main sources of the mutations that lead to cancer…..Inherited predispositions? Environmental factors? Or normal endogenous events?
We will discuss various types of cancer therapies and will include the exciting new treatments such as Immunotherapy and CD-47 blockage. We will also see how oncologists compare the normal human genome to the genome of a tumor to diagnosis cancer and find the best types of treatments.
2. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats):
We will review the discovery and development of of CRISPR, a bacterial cell organelle that can now be controlled in the laboratory to slice and dice the DNA of any biologic creature.
This has led to many intriguing applications such as:
- Editing the genomes of plants and animals for agricultural and medical purposes
- Correcting the gene mutation that leads to Sickle Cell Anemia
- Modification of the genome of a human embryo, immediately after conception, to correct a harmful, lethal gene.