Monday, March 20, 2017

Examining Cancer Patient Data

Three things I learned:
  1. Some genes and chromosomes are very common among the different types of cancers, such as the TP53 gene on chromosome 17.
  2. Mutations causing changes in the function of cell fate genes or cell survival genes are very common, while mutations in genome maintenance genes are more rare and appear less often.
  3. There are way more different mutations than I had previously thought (over 144), although each individual patient usually had around three or four mutations.
Two things that surprised or interested me:
  1. It surprised me how much variety in mutation types and locations there is, even within the same type of cancer.
  2. It was interesting how many different types of research are being done about cancer, including testing different solutions and possible ways to screen for it. Researchers are very creative in the ways they approach the problem, and looking at how creative they were is interesting to see.
One question I still have:

  1. Why do cancer causing mutations cluster on the chromosomes that they do? Some larger chromosomes had fewer mutations or less frequent ones, while smaller chromosomes sometimes had a greater number of mutations or mutations that appeared more frequently. Is there some reason that the mutations that cause cancer appear where they do, or why some are more common than others?

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