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BIO404: Cancer Biology

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
Time Advisory: This unit will take approximately 20 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 6 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.1.1: 2 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.1.2: 3 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.1.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.2: 7 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.2.1: 3 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.2.2: 3 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.3: 7 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.3.1: 3 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.3.2: 3 hours

         ☐    Subunit 6.3.3: 1 hour

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify the common types of physical, chemical, parasitic, and radiation carcinogens. - List the steps involved in carcinogenesis. - Describe ways that potential carcinogens are screened. - Summarize the latest research findings regarding carcinogens and causes of cancer.

6.1 Types of Carcinogens   6.1.1 Overview   - Reading: Mesothelioma’s “Physical Carcinogens—What Are They and How Do They Act?” Link: Mesothelioma’s “Physical Carcinogens—What Are They and How Do They Act?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading does a good job of explaining three types of carcinogens—physical, chemical, and radiation.  A fourth type is parasitic involving bacteria or viruses.
 
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6.1.2 Environmental Carcinogens   - Reading: National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer and the Environment” Link:  National Cancer Institute’s “Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer and the Environment” (HTML, PDF, or PPT)

 Instructions:  View all 46 slides in this series.  The National
Cancer Institute does a great job covering the major environmental
causative agents 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.

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.
 
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6.2 Carcinogenesis (Oncogenesis)   6.2.1 Stages   - Web Media: University of Pittsburgh’s Supercourse: Tee L. Guidotti’s “Carcinogenesis” Link:  University of Pittsburgh’s Supercourse: Tee L. Guidotti’s “Carcinogenesis” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Click start to begin.  View this slide set about carcinogenesis and the stages involved.  There are 21 slides total; you do not need to click on or fill out the information in the “Review” section.
 
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  • 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.  Look at slides 71 through 79 to understand the process of oncogenesis and view tissue slides.
     
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6.2.2 Gene-Environment Interactions   - Web Media: University of Pittsburgh’s Supercourse: Paolo Vineis’s “Gene-Environment Interactions in Cancer” Link:  University of Pittsburgh’s Supercourse: Paolo Vineis’s “Gene-Environment Interactions in Cancer” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Click on start to begin.  Work your way through this slide set, which thoroughly covers the gene-environment interaction observed in caner.  There are 21 slides total; you do not need to click on or fill out the information in the “Review” section.
 
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6.2.3 Carcinogen Metabolism   - Reading: Oxford Journals’ Carcinogenesis: F. Peter Guengerich’s “Metabolism of Chemical Carcinogens” Link: Oxford Journals’ Carcinogenesis: F. Peter Guengerich’s “Metabolism of Chemical Carcinogens” (HTML and PDF)
 
Instructions:  Read this article reviewing mechanisms of carcinogen metabolism. This material can be downloaded in PDF form from the right side of the page.
 
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6.3 Identifying Carcinogens and Cancer Risk   6.3.1 Carcinogen Screening   - Web Media: University of Pittsburgh’s Supercourse: Gary D. Friedman’s “Screening Carcinogens for Possible Carcinogenesis: Three Decades of Experience” Link: University of Pittsburgh’s Supercourse: Gary D. Friedman’s “Screening Carcinogens for Possible Carcinogenesis:  Three Decades of Experience” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on start to begin.  Work your way through this slide set, which thoroughly covers how potential carcinogens are screened.  There are 30 slides total; you do not need to click on or fill out the information in the “Review” section.
 
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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.” 
 
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  • 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.
     
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6.3.3 Specialized Testing for Carcinogens   - Reading: Environmental Health Perspectives: Charles W. Schmidt’s “TOX 21: New Dimensions of Toxicity Testing” Link:  Environmental Health Perspectives: Charles W. Schmidt’s “TOX 21: New Dimensions of Toxicity Testing” (HTML and PDF)
 
Instructions:  Read this entire article about a collaborative effort between several government and private agencies to do high throughput screening of potential cancer causing agents. You can download this material in PDF format from the top right corner of the page.
 
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