Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Cancer is defined as the abnormal proliferation of cells. This has become an important disease over the last century. The number of cases has risen drastically causing a surge of research in the medical field. There are many ways to study cancer, one of the most popular being the study of the genetic components of the disease. Two major sets of genes associated with cancer are the tumor suppressor genes and the proto-oncogenes. The proto-oncogenes have, in recent studies, been linked to numerous types of cancer. Normally inactive in the cell, the activation by a point or other form of mutation results in their activation and uncontrolled cell proliferation. It is a particular family of proto-oncogenes, the ras family, that has been found to be a common factor in human cancers. This family of oncogenes is involved in cell regulatory processes in its normal state. A process termed guanine nucleotide binding results in the controlled proliferation of cells. The activation of a ras gene product by mutation results in the uncontrolled functioning of this process. Medical researchers have found a point mutation at codon 12 of the ras genetic sequence results in the production of a ras protein that binds permanently in an active form causing the uncontrolled proliferation. The activation of this protein is both irreversible and often lethal.
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Crowley, Peter L., "The Activation of the ras Protooncogene and Cancer: The Oncogenic Induction of Cell Proliferation" (1994). Honors Theses. 190.