Cancer Biology

Purpose of Course  showclose

Cancer has existed among humans since humans themselves began and has been a subject of urgent interest from very early in our history.  What we call “cancer” consists of a number of different diseases with one fundamental similarity: they are all initiated by the unchecked proliferation and growth of cells in which the pathways and systems that normally control cell division and mortality are absent.  Cancer-cell abnormalities are often due to mutations of the genes that control the cell cycle and cell growth.  To understand cancer cells, then, one must first understand the processes that regulate normal cell cycles.

This course will cover the origins of cancer and the genetic and cellular basis for cancer.  It will examine the factors that have been implicated in triggering cancers; the intercellular interactions involved in cancer proliferation; current treatments for cancer and how these are designed; and future research and treatment directions for cancer therapy.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to BIO404!  Below, please find some general information about the course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Amy L. Thompson, PhD, MLS (ASCP)

Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Pay special attention to Units 1 and 2 as these lay the groundwork for understanding the more, exploratory material presented in latter units.  You will also need to complete:

  • Unit 1.2.1 Assessment
  • Unit 2.2.1 Assignment
  • Unit 2.2.6 Assignment
  • Unit 3.2.4 Assessment
  • Unit 3.3.2.2 Assignment
  • Unit 4.3.1 Assessment
  • Unit 5.2.5 Assessment
  • Unit 7.1 Assignment
  • Unit 8.2.7 Assessment
  • The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments and assignments listed above.

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 95 hours to complete.  Each unit contains a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time that you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then set goals for yourself.  Use the time advisories to help you plot out your schedule of when you do each unit/subunit and on which days of the week.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 10.5 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 (a total of 1.5 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 (a total of 2.25 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: The material in this course builds on the earlier material.  You must have a good understanding of the cell cycle, DNA replication, transcription, and translation in order to understand how cancer develops.  If you have difficulty grasping these early concepts, the later units will be very difficult.  It is important that you take notes for all readings, lectures, and learning tasks.  When available, you may choose to print out articles and take notes directly on them.  You may want to use the course units and their subunits to create an outline for your notes.  



Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Explain how the perception of cancer and theories of its causes have changed throughout history because of important discoveries made by scientists, researchers, and physicians.
  • Summarize the importance of understanding cell biology in the study of cancer, its causes, it progression, and its treatment.
  • Outline the transcription and translation processes used to convert DNA into proteins and what changes occur that convert proto-oncogenes into oncogenes and lead to unchecked cell growth and cancer.
  • Compare and contrast the mechanisms by which activation of oncogenes, loss of tumor suppressors, loss of cell cycle checkpoints, and development of faulty DNA repair lead to cancer.
  • Describe the various cancer prevention mechanisms including risk assessment, screening, and lifestyle and environmental modification.  
  • List the past, current, and future cancer treatments and the mechanism by which these target cancer causing cells.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed BIO101 and BIO102 from “The Core Program” in the Biology discipline.

Unit Outline show close


Expand All Resources Collapse All Resources
  • Unit 1: Origins and Overview  

    This unit will introduce you to the history of cancer.  Many notable scientists have made important discoveries about the causes of cancer, its progression, and potential therapies.  You will learn about how our understanding of cancer has evolved throughout history from early beliefs that cancer was contagious leading to isolation to the more modern approach of targeting the genes that cause cancer.  In subunit 1.2, you will get an overview of what happens to cells leading to cancer, causative agents, and basic information about the spread of this disease.  Following units will go into more detail about this information.  

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 History of Cancer  
    • Reading: American Cancer Society’s “The History of Cancer”

      Link:  American Cancer Society’s “The History of Cancer” (HTML or PDF)
       
      Instructions:  The American Cancer Society presents this eighteen page reading, which describes the history of cancer and many significant scientific discoveries made by numerous notable scientists.  We will read the first seven pages.  Click Next Topic above the gray bar to continue to the next page.  Continue through The History of Cancer module until you reach the Cancer Screening and Early Detection page.  Once you have read this page, stop.  We will cover past, present, and future cancer therapies later in this course.  If you would like to have a copy of this material, a PDF is available for downloading and printing by selecting the PDF button below the title on the linked page.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2 Introduction: What is Cancer?  
  • 1.2.1 Test Your Knowledge  
    • Assessment: WebMD’s “Cancer Quiz”

      Link: WebMD’s “Cancer Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Take this five question quiz assessing your current knowledge of cancer.  Don’t worry if you don’t do well.  You will learn all these answers and more in this course.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.2 Definition  
  • 1.2.3 The Six Hallmarks of Cancer  
    • Web Media: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Inside Cancer: “Hallmarks of Cancer”

      Link: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Inside Cancer: “Hallmarks of Cancer” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory offers this four module series called Inside Cancer.  We will focus on the module called “Hallmarks of Cancer” to understand how cancer cells evade suicide signals to become immortalized.  Click on “Hallmarks of Cancer” to open the module.  There are eight sections in this module.  Start with the Overview and work your way through the remaining sections: Growing Uncontrollably, Evading Death, Processing Nutrients, Becoming Immortal, Invading Tissues, Avoiding Detection, and Promoting Mutations.  For each section, you will need to click the arrow to move to the next step in the animation.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.4 Causes  
    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer” (HTML, PDF or PPT)

      Instructions:  The National Cancer Institute presents this slide show and reading that introduces cancer.  This website presents various topics that we will discuss in more detail in later units.  Please review slides 24 through 36.  Press the arrow (advance) button at the top of the page once you have finished with each slide.  This slide presentation is available for downloading as a PDF or a PowerPoint with notes, using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.5 Initiation and Progression  
    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer” (HTML, PDF or PPT)

      Instructions:  The National Cancer Institute presents this slide show and reading that introduces cancer.  This website presents various topics that we will discuss in more detail in later units.  Review slides 6 through 9.  This slide presentation is available for downloading as a PDF or a PowerPoint with notes, using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 2: Gene Expression and Regulation  

    To understand how cancer is disruptive, you must first understand the systems it disrupts.  This unit will cover the primary means through which DNA and gene expression are regulated within the cell, focusing on the pathways and genes which, when mutated, can lead to unchecked cell growth.  This unit will be concerned with the genes that are normally involved in cell growth and division (called proto-oncogenes).  When these genes are “activated” in one of several ways, they no longer cause cells to divide normally but instead trigger unchecked cell division and proliferation; when this occurs, these genes are referred to as “oncogenes.”

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 DNA Structure and Stability  
  • 2.1.1 Structure  
    • Web Media: The University of Utah: Genetic Science and Learning Center’s “Tour of the Basics”

      Link: The University of Utah: Genetic Science and Learning Center’s “Tour of the Basics” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions: The University of Utah presents this excellent tour of DNA. Click on “What Is DNA?” to start the presentation. Click next to continue through the animation. Also, view the following presentations: “What Is a Gene?” “What Is a Chromosome?” “What Is a Protein?” “What Is Heredity?” and “What Is a Trait?” These will provide you with great information about DNA, its structure, how it provides the recipe for proteins, and its importance for traits and disease risk.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer” (HTML, PDF, or PPT)

      Instructions:  You may be wondering how DNA relates to the development of cancer.  The National Cancer Institute does a good job of explaining this relationship.  Review slides 39, 40, and 41.  This slide presentation is available for downloading as a PDF or a PowerPoint with notes, using the options on the left of the screen.    
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.1.2 Maintenance and Repair  
    • Reading: Eastern Michigan University: Dr. Bob Winning’s “Mutation, DNA Repair, and Recombination”

      Link: Eastern Michigan University: Dr. Bob Winning’s “Mutation, DNA Repair, and Recombination” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Read the first five pages of material by clicking the next button at the bottom of each page.  We will only study mutation and DNA repair.  Stop when you get to the recombination section at the bottom of page five.  We will not cover recombination.  You do not need to click on the hyperlinks.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer”

      Link: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer” (HTML, PDF or PPT)

      Instructions:  View slide 48.  This will allow you to make the connection between DNA repair and cancer.  This slide mentions that this is the third gene type.  We will talk about the other two types, oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, a bit later.  This slide presentation is available for downloading as a PDF or a PowerPoint with notes, using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2 Gene Expression and Regulation  
  • 2.2.1 Transcription and Translation  
  • 2.2.2 Signal Transduction Pathways  
  • 2.2.3 Transcription Factors  
    • Web Media: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Gene Function”

      Link:  Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Gene Formation” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Transcription factors are involved in numerous parts of the transcription process converting DNA into pre-mRNA and following splicing mRNA.  Review the steps of transcription, including the animation, taking special note of the role of transcription factors.  Click the next arrow to go to the transcription factors page that lists common transcription factors involved in cancer.  Review the estrogen receptor animation.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.4 Growth Factors  
    • Reading: The Medical Biochemistry Page: Indiana University School of Medicine: Dr. Michael W. King’s “Growth Factors”

      Link:  The Medical Biochemistry Page: Indiana University School of Medicine: Dr. Michael W. King’s “Growth Factors” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  This reading discusses growth factors, giving numerous examples.  By understanding the role of growth factors now, you will better understand their involvement in cancer and cancer processes later in this course.  Focus on the big picture in this reading.  The main purpose of most growth factors is to stimulate growth of cells—typically resulting in cell division.
       
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.5 Proto-oncogenes  
  • 2.2.6 Oncogene Activation  
    • Reading: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Mutation”

      Link:  Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Mutation” (HTML and Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  This is a great series that explains how mutations damage DNA, leading to cancer.  Start with Introduction to Mutation and work your way through each section, finishing with the mutation summary.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Activity: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Mutation”

      Link:  Emory University’s Cancer Quest: “Mutation- Know the Flow and Crossword” (HTML and Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Test your knowledge of this material by completing the Know the Flow and Crossword exercises.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine: Dr. Richard C. Hunt’s “Oncogenic Viruses”

      Link:  University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine: Dr. Richard C. Hunt’s “Oncogenic Viruses” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Although this chapter is quite long, the impact that viruses have on the development of cancer cannot be emphasized enough.  This reading does a great job of thoroughly covering all of the major viruses that are known to cause cancer.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 3: Growth Inhibitors  

    In normal cells, there are factors that check cell growth, prevent or slow cell division, and trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) of specific cells.  If these genes are defective, their inability to control these processes of the normal cell cycle can also lead to cancer.  This unit will cover the processes of the typical cell cycle and its checkpoints and will examine the genes and proteins whose loss of function can lead to cell division without restraints.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 The Cell Cycle  
    • Web Media: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Cell Division”

      Link: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Cell Division” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: This module does a great job reviewing all of the steps of the cell cycle and relating it to cancer and cancer treatment.  Start with the introduction and work your way through the summary.  Click on next to move to subsequent pages, and click on the tab to the left to go to the next section.  Make sure to view the animations that are found throughout this module.  Focus on the different phases of the cell cycle and the ways that deviation from these normal phases might lead to cancer.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2 Checkpoints of the Cell Cycle  
  • 3.2.1 G1 and S Phases  
    • Reading: Sigma-Aldrich’s “G1 & S Phases”

      Link:  Sigma-Aldrich’s “G1 & S Phases” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Read the description of the G1 (gap 1) and S (synthesis) phases of the cell cycle.  Focus on the different factors that regulate progression through these phases.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 3.2.2 G2 Phase and Mitosis  
    • Reading: Sigma-Aldrich’s “G2 & M Phases”

      Link:  Sigma-Aldrich’s “G2 & M Phases” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Read the description of the G2 (gap 2) and M (mitosis) phases of the cell cycle.  Focus on the different factors that regulate progression through these phases.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 3.2.3 Cyclin-Dependent Kinases  
  • 3.2.4 Assessment  
  • 3.3 Tumor-Suppressor Genes  
  • 3.3.1 Functions and Pathways  
  • 3.3.2 Examples  
  • 3.3.2.1 p53  
    • Web Media: Cold Stream Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center: “Causes, Smoking: p53”

      Link:  Cold Stream Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center: “Causes, Smoking: p53” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  You might recall that the protein p53 is a transcription factor.  As mentioned, p53 works in a manner that classifies it as a tumor suppressor.  Cold Stream Harbor Laboratory presents this animation of how transcription factor and tumor suppressor p53 regulates the cell cycle allowing for DNA repair.  Use the forward arrow to work your way through the phases of the animation.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Sigma-Aldrich’s “The p53 Signaling Pathway”

      Link:  Sigma-Aldrich’s “The p53 Signaling Pathway” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  You have just learned the location of p53’s checkpoints in the cell cycle.  This short description will give you a bit more information about p53’s signaling pathway and the factors that it activates and inactivates.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 3.3.2.2 Rb (retinoblastoma)  
  • 3.3.2.3 BRCA1 and BRCA2  
  • 3.4 Cell Biology and Cancer  
    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer” (HTML, PDF or PPT)

      Instructions:  View slides 49, 50, and 51 to put it all together—oncogenes, loss of tumor suppressors, and DNA repair issues plus other factors—to determine what leads to the development of cancer.  This slide presentation is available for downloading as a PDF or a PowerPoint with notes, using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 4: Death and Life: Apoptosis and Immortality  

    The process through which cells that are defective, old, or no longer necessary are programmed to die is a tremendously important one.  Apoptosis (programmed cell death) occurs in embryos going through complex cell movements and rearrangements and in adults going through the normal cycle of cell metabolism.  This process of dying is altered in cancer cells, as are the processes that limit the number of times a cell can proliferate, leading to what can be described as an “immortal” cell.  Such a cell is no longer responsive to “suicide” cues and no longer capable of undergoing replicative senescence (the cessation of division).  The result of this unstoppable cell’s proliferation is the development of a tumor.

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 Apoptosis  
  • 4.1.1 The Apoptosis Pathway  
  • 4.1.2 "Death Receptors"  
  • 4.1.3 Mutations to the Pathway  
  • 4.2 Immortality  
  • 4.2.1 Normal Limits on Proliferation  
  • 4.2.2 Telomeres and Telomerase  
  • 4.3 Tumorigenesis  
  • 4.3.1 Hyperplasia and Dysplasia  
  • 4.3.2 Anaplasia  
    • Reading: University of South Carolina’s “Anaplasia”

      Link:  University of South Carolina’s “Anaplasia” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Read this one page summary of anaplasia.  Notice how the cell actually de-differentiates in this process.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Mercer University’s School of Medicine: WebPath’s “Neoplasia”

      Link: Mercer University’s School of Medicine: WebPath’s “Neoplasia” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: WebPath covers numerous pathological processes, including the development of cancer or neoplasia.  This module covers important features of tumor formation including anaplasia.  View image 52, and notice the lack of development of the cells. 
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 5: Intercellular Interactions and Invasions  

    In order for cancer cells to spread throughout the body, they must not only proliferate but also interact with each other and other cell types.  Once cancer cells begin to proliferate, a cluster of cells forms and eventually reaches a size at which the cells can no longer acquire the oxygen and nutrients they need through diffusion.  Like normal tissues, they need a blood supply and are therefore able to secrete factors that trigger normal cells to form new blood vessels.  This process is called angiogenesis and is thought to be first condition necessary for metastasis (cancer spread and invasion).
    Once tumors are able to proliferate, some portion of them must be able to detach from the original tumor, spread through the body, and “invade” other tissues.  Changes in the level of cell adhesion (the loosening of cells from their connections to one another) are often associated with an increased ability of cancer cells to spread.  Proteolysis, the selective degradation of portions of other cell membranes, is also a necessary precondition for the invasion of tissue by cancer cells.

    Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 Angiogenesis  
  • 5.1.1 Initiation  
    • Web Media: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Angiogenesis”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Angiogenesis” (HTML, PDF, or PPT)
       
      Instructions:  This slide presentation thoroughly covers angiogenesis.  Click on slide 1, and read the notes that accompany the slide.  Once you have finished with this slide, click the forward arrow to view the next slide.  Continue until you have viewed slides 1 through 10.  This slide presentation is available for downloading as a PDF or a PowerPoint with notes, using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.2 Inducers  
  • 5.1.3 Inhibitors  
  • 5.2 Metastasis  
  • 5.2.1 Adhesion  
  • 5.2.2 Proteolysis  
  • 5.2.3 Routes  
    • Web Media: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Metastasis”

      Link:  Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Metastasis” (HTML and PDF)
       
      Instructions:  This first slide shows the common routes of metastasis—through the blood, lymphatic system, and body cavity wall.  Once you have viewed the first slide, click next to view the second (lymphatic system) and then third (model). This material can be viewed in PDF by clicking “Download as PDF” under the title.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Metastatic Cancer”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Metastatic Cancer” (HTML or PDF)
       
      Instructions:  Scroll down to question 4, titled “How does cancer spread,” and read this section.  This gives a bit more insight into how can spreads from the site of origin elsewhere in the body.  This is available for downloading as a PDF using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.4 Sites of Origin  
    • Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Metastatic Cancer”

      Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Metastatic Cancer” (HTML or PDF)
       
      Instructions:  Read through question numbers 1 through 3.  This reading discusses the spread of cancer from its origin to a new location in the body.  The chart shows common sites of cancer spread.  This  is available for downloading as a PDF using the options on the left of the screen.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.5 Assessment  
  • Unit 6: Carcinogens  

    While mutations and genetic predispositions can lead to cancer, environmental factors have been shown to do so as well.  These factors have various means of triggering cancer-cell development and proliferation.  The likelihood of developing cancer from exposure to carcinogens depends on a number of conditions, including the potency of the carcinogen, the intensity of exposure, the duration of exposure, and predisposition or genetic sensitivity to the carcinogen.

    Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 Types of Carcinogens  
  • 6.1.1 Overview  
  • 6.1.2 Environmental Carcinogens  
  • 6.1.3 Additional Carcinogens  
    • Web Media: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Inside Cancer “Causes and Prevention”

      Link:  Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Inside Cancer “Causes and Prevention” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory offers this four module series called Inside Cancer.  This module covers some of the same carcinogens covered by the National Cancer Institute but also covers some new carcinogens.  This source offers a more in depth look at many of these.  We will focus on the module called “Causes and Prevention” to further examine what is understood about different cancer causing agents or carcinogens.  Click on Causes and Prevention.  There are seven sections in this module.  Start with the Overview and work your way through the other six sections: Smoking, Inheritance, Diet, Mold, Viruses, and Sunlight.  For each section, you will need to click the arrow to move to the next step in the animation.  You will also want to click on the arrows next to the words on each slide to view more information about the factors listed.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2 Carcinogenesis (Oncogenesis)  
  • 6.2.1 Stages  
  • 6.2.2 Gene-Environment Interactions  
  • 6.2.3 Carcinogen Metabolism  
  • 6.3 Identifying Carcinogens and Cancer Risk  
  • 6.3.1 Carcinogen Screening  
  • 6.3.2 Known Carcinogens  
    • Reading: American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures”

      Link:  American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures” (PDF)
       
      Instructions:  To access this text, please click on the “Download” hyperlink to open the PDF file.  Please review this information starting with page 25 and ending on page 44.  Each year the American Cancer Society, along with researchers and other agencies, put together this up to date report of cancer research findings.  In this 2011 report, there is a special section about “Cancer Disparities and Premature Deaths,” as well as information about the impact of “Tobacco Use,” “Nutrition and Physical Activity,” and “Environmental Cancer Risks.” 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: American Cancer Society’s “Known and Probable Human Carcinogens”

      Link:  American Cancer Society’s “Known and Probable Human Carcinogens” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please read the entire webpage for an explanation of how carcinogens are identified and classified.  It also lists many known carcinogens.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.3.3 Specialized Testing for Carcinogens  
  • Unit 7: Cancer Therapy: Past, Present, and Future  

    Numerous factors lead to the development of cancer in cells throughout the body.  By understanding their risk, patients can take proactive steps to help prevent the development of cancer.  A large number of cancer screening methods are used to detect cancer including blood antigens, fecal occult blood, and colonoscopy, among others.  With risk assessment and screening, can potentially be detected early and prognosis is improved.

    Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 Cancer Risk Assessment  
  • 7.2 Screening and Early Detection  
  • 7.2.1 Screening Guidelines  
  • 7.2.2 Cancer Screening and Detection  
  • 7.2.2.1 Breast Cancer Screening  
    • Web Media: Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s “Breast Cancer 101”

      Link:  Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s “Breast Cancer 101” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Scroll all the way to the bottom of this webpage.  You will see a link under the pink heading “Breast Cancer 101 (Interactive Tool).”  Click on the view program in English link.  The program will load.  Work your way through this interactive tool to learn about breast cancer screening, development, and treatment.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.2.2.2 Colorectal Cancer Screening  
    • Reading: Johns Hopkins Medicine’s “Colorectal Cancer”

      Link:  Johns Hopkins Medicine’s “Colorectal Cancer” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Work your way through the “About Colorectal Cancer” tab to the left.  Click on the items across the top bar including Overview, Anatomy, Polyp to Cancer, Diagnosis, Staging, Symptoms, and Risk Factors.  Once you have read this material, click on the tab Screening and Prevention to learn about the different tools used to screen for colorectal cancer including the Intro, Colonoscopy, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, and others. 
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.2.2.3 Prostate Cancer Screening  
  • 7.2.2.4 Thyroid Cancer Screening  
  • 7.2.2.5 Cervical Cancer Screening  
  • 7.3 Prevention  
  • Unit 8: Cancer Therapy: Past, Present, and Future  

    Curing cancer and helping those who have it have been medical concerns for thousands of years.  However, cancer remains difficult to cure; it is hard to eradicate completely; it proliferates rapidly and can cause resurgences after it appears to be gone; its cells develop resistances to drugs; and many of the treatments for it are toxic to healthy cells as well.  This unit will describe some of the means through which cancer has been treated in the past (some of which will seem surprisingly familiar) and will also address current techniques and their effectiveness.  Finally, the unit will introduce you to some plans for the future of cancer treatments based on areas of current research in cancer biology and oncology.  

    Unit 8 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 8 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 8.1 Past Treatments  
    • Reading: American Cancer Society’s “The History of Cancer”

      Link: American Cancer Society’s “The History of Cancer” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  We covered the first part of this reading, presented by the American Cancer Society, in Unit 1.  We will now read about how cancer treatments have evolved, and conclude with the present and the future.  This is a great overall of how our approach to cancer has changed through the years—from no treatment to targeted specific therapies for individual patients.  Click Next Topic above the gray bar to continue to the next page.  When you reach the references, you have finished this module.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2 Current Treatments  
  • 8.2.1 Surgery  
    • Web Media: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Surgery for Cancer”

      Link:  Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Surgery for Cancer” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Read this page about surgery for cancer and view the two animations.  Once you reach the bottom of the page, view the three short videos covering the breast and lymph node biopsy and pathology.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2.2 Hormone Therapy  
  • 8.2.3 Radiation  
    • Web Media: Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Introduction to Radiation Therapy”

      Link:  Emory University’s CancerQuest: “Introduction to Radiation Therapy” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  View the eleven pages in this module.  Be sure to watch the documentary about radiation therapy on the first page.  Click on the five different topics at the bottom of the documentary as well as the different patient interviews to the right.  On some of the pages, expert video commentary is given. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2.4 Chemotherapy  
  • 8.2.5 Immunotherapy  
  • 8.2.6 Targeted Therapy  
    • Reading: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Inside Cancer: “Diagnosis and Treatment”

      Link: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Inside Cancer: “Diagnosis and Treatment” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory offers this four module series called Inside Cancer.  We will focus on the module called “Diagnosis and Treatment” to look at how certain types of cancer are treated using targeted therapy.  Click on Diagnosis and Treatment.  There are four sections in this module.  Start with Pathology and work your way through Pharmacogenetics, Targeted Activators, and Blocking Receptors.  For each section, you will need to click the arrow to move to the next step in the animation.
       
      Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2.7 Assessment  
  • 8.3.1 Stem Cells: Problems and Solutions  
  • 8.3.2 Novel Targets  
  • 8.3.3 Modified Adenoviruses  
  • 8.3.4 Gleevec  
  • 8.3.5 Tailored Treatments  
  • Final Exam