Cancer Biology


  • How Cancer Grows

    Cancer is not a single disease but rather more than 100 types of disease. Yet all cancer begins with a genetic mutation within a body cell and advances when the cell's descendants mutate further. The following step through from NOVA Online shows the progression of a malignant tumor, ending with metastasis, the colonization of tumors throughout the body. It focuses on the most common type of cancer, a carcinoma, which can originate in the skin, breast, prostate, and other organs.

    This interactive activity requires Adobe Flash Player.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Cancer Cells Grow and Divide

    Discover the role of oncogenes in uncontrolled cancerous growth and depicts the journey of cancer cells from where they originate, into the circulatory system, and then on to other parts of the body. This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Cell Replication and Cancerous Cells

    Students explore mitosis and learn about uncontrolled cell division, or cancer.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • What is Cancer? | Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

    Cancer is the fastest growing disease on earth. Learn about the impact, both for individuals and for society.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Cancer Nanotech

    In this interactive slideshow adapted from NOVA scienceNOW, learn how scientists are using nanotechnology—the building of functional systems at the molecular scale—for medical purposes. Through a mix of electron microscope images, artistic representations, and informative text, examine a variety of nanotechnology applications that have been conceived to diagnose, treat, and even prevent cancer. The slideshow features nanotubes, nanowires, quantum dots, and fullerenes, among several other extremely small devices and particles currently in research and development.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Causes of cancer | Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

    After smoking and obesity, the causes of cancer remain elusive and varied. Between radiation, a few viruses, and carcinogens like asbestos, scientists have only been able to understand forty percent of all diagnosed cases.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Modifying Cell Genes Could Help Beat Blood Cancer

    Discover how an experimental treatment could help leukemia patients with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from March 17, 2015.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Cell Division

    Explore the step-by-step process by which an animal cell divides to make more cells, in this interactive activity adapted from the Exploratorium. Division enables cells to replicate their genetic material and then create an exact copy of themselves. Explore the individual steps of this process, by which single-celled organisms reproduce and multicellular organisms develop, grow, repair damaged tissue, and reproduce.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Why is Cancer So Difficult to Cure? | Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

    Cancer cells are constantly mutating within your body. Treatment is a dynamic concept, both between different people and even within the same patient, become drug resistance is a common trait of the disease's evolution.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Career Profile: Synthetic Biologist Karmella Haynes

    This video produced by WGBH profiles Karmella Haynes, a post-doctoral researcher working in the emerging field of synthetic biology. Karmella explains how she uses biotechnology to build living machines, or devices, from genes. She then puts these devices into the cells of living things and studies the results. Haynes hopes that one day the devices she's working on will carry out complicated functions in human bodies, such as curing a disease. The video demonstrates how Karmella is using synthetic biology to detect cancer cells before they spread.

    Grades: 9-12