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  • Cancer is like a car crash.

  • Your body typically regulates the speed at which your cells divide, but sometimes, cancer cuts the brake lines,

  • and your cells divide too quickly, accumulating mutations that cause them to veer away from their original function, form dangerous tumors, and land you in the hospital.

  • Cancer is basically an inability of the body to control the speed at which cells divide.

  • When cells divide too quickly, they can often accumulate mutations that cause them to ignore their original function in the body, forming tumors.

  • In turn, these tumors may interfere with the natural processes of the body, such as digestion and respiration, potentially leading to death.

  • Typically, your body has a number of genetic mechanisms to control how fast your cells divide.

  • One of these genes is BRCA1, which stands for breast cancer susceptibility gene 1.

  • BRCA1 belongs to a class of genes called tumor suppressor genes.

  • Tumor suppressor genes are involved in regulating how fast a cell divides.

  • Normally, cell division follows an orderly process called the cell cycle, which is basically the life cycle of a cell.

  • Within the cell cycle is a series of checkpoints, where proteins, such as the one produced by BRCA1, regulate how fast the cell may proceed.

  • How does it do this?

  • BRCA1 helps repair some forms of mutation in your DNA.

  • If your DNA is damaged, BRCA1 keeps the cell from dividing until the mutation is repaired.

  • You have two copies of the BRCA1 gene in every cell of your body.

  • One copy you inherited from Mom, the other from Dad.

  • This redundancy is a good thing because you only need one functioning BRCA1 gene in a cell to regulate the cell cycle.

  • But it's important to note that while these copies have a similar function they're not necessarily the same.

  • In fact, there are hundreds of variations, or alleles, of BRCA1.

  • Some regulate the cell cycle more effectively than others.

  • In other words, some people are born with better regulating and repair mechanisms than others.

  • And in some cases, mutations may render BRCA1 ineffective.

  • When this happens, cells with damaged DNA are allowed to divide.

  • As they divide, these cells may accumulate additional mutations.

  • These mutations may cause the cell to become less specialized and stop performing its original function in the tissue.

  • If this occurs, then there's a greater chance they'll develop into cancer cells.

  • While we all have the gene, such as BRCA1, that can cause cancer, it's only when these genes fail at their function that problems develop.

  • Having an ineffective or mutated version of BRCA1 can increase your susceptibility to cancer, much like driving with bad brakes increases the risk of an accident.

Cancer is like a car crash.

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B1 US TED-Ed cancer divide cell cycle gene cycle

【TED-Ed】The cancer gene we all have - Michael Windelspecht

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    Halu Hsieh posted on 2020/11/04
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