Monday, March 20, 2017

Examining Cancer Patient Data

This activity taught me that there are many different gene mutations that can lead to the same type of cancer. The mutations may be in oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, they may be on chromosome 3, or even the X chromosome. Another trend I saw was that it appeared that in all cancer patients, be it hepatic cancer or other, the patients had at least two different mutations. This would lead me to believe it takes more than one mutation to cause cancer. The final thing I learned from this activity is that there are only 9 genes associated with genome maintenance. This leads to cell fate and cell survival being far more prevalent than genome maintenance.
It surprised me to learn how spread apart all the cancer genes appeared to be, even among patients of the same cancer type. There was almost no rhyme or reason to their placements and it seemed equally likely that a gene may mutate on any of the chromosomes. Likely this is why cancer has remained a mystery for so long, it's hard to pinpoint or predict and therefor hard to control and cure. As well it surprised me that no gene could code for more than one type of cancer. One thing I still wonder is a piece I mentioned earlier in observing that every patient had more than one mutation. Is that just a by-chance happening, or does one really require multiple genes to mutate before cancer develops. Or can an individual develop cancer by one mutated gene alone?

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