Unit 4 Case Study 2 Skin Cancer

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Skin Cancer Tumorigenesis is a multistep process that comes from different acquired, and in some cases inherited, genetic mismatches. When these alterations come together they lead to imbalances between critical cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, and cell death. Unfortunately these imbalances allow for clonal cell expansion and ultimately tumor development. Certain advances in forming the genetic basis of skin cancers have been made. Skin cells are always being overwhelmed with radiation and certain genes are responsible for fixing the damage. When a gene called Patch is inactivated it causes an increase in excessive cell growth, also known as cancer. Patch was found in a fruit fly called Drosophila melanogaster. Patch is located on the ninth chromosome in humans. Malfunctioning patch leads to defective embryonic development and many types of skin cancer. Apoptosis is controlled cell death; patched is responsible for that too. When this gene does not work tissue structure is not maintained, embryo's toes and fingers do not take shape, and skin cancer can grow unchecked. Hedgehog, the gene that turns on the patched gene, can also lead to skin cancer when it does not function. The gene product of hedgehog is a protein that rests on the cell membrane and sends signals to the nucleus of the cell. The hedgehog protein determines cell growth and other things too. It starts different genes all at the same time, even the patched gene. Patched proteins then build up in the cell and interrupt the signals being sent from the hedgehog protein. Hedgehog wants cells to grow but while it’s trying to do that it activates patched and other genes. The built up patched blocks the signal and keeps the level of growth to a steady pace. The system of checks and balances are sensitive. Cancer will appear if patched does not work. If hedgehog had some

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