IB Cancer Exploration:

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population is either directly or indirectly affected by cancer.  What causes cancer?  Why are some individuals more susceptible to cancer than others?  From the HMMI 2013 Holiday Lectures on Science, Dr. Charles Sawyers “explains the difference between proto-oncogenes, oncogenes, and tumor suppressor genes, and how mutations in these genes drive cancer development[1].”



Using the clip from Dr. Sawyer’s presentation, answer the following questions concerning the causes of cancer.

  1. What is the difference between oncogenes (proto-oncogene) and tumor suppressor genes?

  1. Why is the balance or ratio between these two gene types important?

  1. What are specific gene examples that prohibit cell growth?

  1. What are specific gene examples that promote cell growth?

  1. How are DNA replication mutations usually repaired?

  1. Using a reputable source, discuss and cite the correlation between smoking and the development of cancer.  For instructions on how to properly cite sources in MLA format, use this resource.


[1] HMMI “Cancer as a genetic disease: Video Highlights”