Cancer ...

[caption id="attachment_354" align="alignright" width="290" caption="Picture by crafty_dame"][/caption]

Second semester is off and running. AP Biology has been a whirlwind. Because of the condensed schedule the students of AP Biology are valiantly cramming week's worth of college level knowledge into their heads on a daily basis. Last week was all about the cell. It seems that the topic students enjoyed the most was our discussion of cancer. Though, the discussion would not have been nearly as enjoyable without help from Radiolab's piece Famous Tumors. In the spirit of weekly, student reporting, our first two posts of the semester come from super sophomores Morgan Travis and Maya Gouw.

Morgan Begins: 

This week in AP Biology we learned about many topics such as the cell membrane, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and interphase. In my opinion, the most interesting topic was cancer. When learning about the cell we learned all about the cycle it goes through in order to replicate and have daughter cells. I have had many personal memories with cancer. I never knew how exactly it worked until we talked about it in depth. Normal cells have checkpoints, are density dependent, and have anchorage. When and if cancer cells stop multiplying they do so at random points in the cell cycle. They just keep multiplying regardless. They do not operate with normal growth factors. Anchorage meaning that when most cells have to be attached to that cancer cells do not. Cancer cells when contained to one area are considered benign tumors. When they spread to new tissues, they are considered malignant tumors. Throughout this week this topic has been very interesting to me and given me a better understanding of just how cancer is created in the body.

Speaking to the Radiolab piece, Maya writes:

This week in AP Biology, we covered a wide range of topics including mitosis, cells, cancer,macromolecules, and more. However, in the end, my favorite activity would definitely have to be the one in which we listened to a Radio-lab podcast about famous tumors,commented on it and replied to someone else’s comment. It was a set of three very endearing stories, all of which were quite odd and perplexing. The incident I had listened to, happened to involve a certain case in which Tasmanian devils were afflicted by a strange and deadly facial tumor that was able to “leap” from devil to devil as a result of multiple factors. One of these factors concerned the devils’ lack of genetic diversity as a result of extended periods of inbreeding. The main way the tumors were spread from devil to devil was bites from an infected animal. All-in-all, all of the stories were equally enjoyable and Iam certainly looking forward to more lessons like this week’s.