History and Science of Cancer

  • Cancer treatment today | Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

    Targeted therapies have made a significant difference in the fight against cancer, with help from prevention and increased detection. Researchers have recently been able to further our understanding of the disease, now able to make predictions about the seemingly 'random' patterns that occur within cancerous tissues.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Future of Cancer Treatment | Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

    The future of cancer research and treatment is optimistic. Now that scientists are able to fully understand the disease, development into more advanced treatments is the next mission that oncologists must face.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Cancer - A New Treatment

    This video segment adapted from Curious presents the journey of Mark Davis.  In high school, Mark Davis ran the 400 in track.  His goal was to have the best time for this event in the United States.  In college, his aspirations changed.  He decided to study chemical engineering because it was the most challenging major.  After college, he began research at Cal Tech, where he solved problems thought to be unsolvable.  When his wife contracted breast cancer, she posed a new challenge for him.  She asked him to find an effective cancer treatment that would not make patients terribly sick.  With no background in cancer research, he took on the challenge and was successful.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Can Dogs Smell Cancer?

    Show your students the latest developments in cancer research with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from September 4, 2014. Check out more teaching resources at PBS NewsHour Extra.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Detecting Pigments in Cancer & Art

    When an inventor that designed a laser to understand melanoma pigments was visiting an art museum, he thought: Why not turn the laser on artwork to understand its pigments? Voila--part of a solution for one problem was used to solve another.
    Grades: 5-12
  • Kent Hunter Explains Why Cancer Is So Hard to Cure | Earth and Sky Podcast

    Listen to Kent Hunter talk about what makes cancer drug design so difficult. Hunter explains that cancer involves our cells losing their ability to control their own growth and that the body has a hard time distinguishing cancerous cells from normal cells.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Does a Computer Diagnose Cancer?

    Discover how strides in artificial intelligence assist doctors with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from May 12, 2015.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Precision Medicine | UNC-TV Science

    Learn about precision medicine as a new way to fight cancer in this video from North Carolina Science Now. Scientists use a person’s unique genetic makeup to develop an individualized treatment plan to target cancer cells. 

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers | Len Zon

    Meet cancer research Len Zon in these videos from the NOVA's "The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers."  Len studies zebra fish to better understand the biology of cancer tumors. The gene set of the zebra fish is similar to humans. The fish are transparent, revealing internal organs. Len is also a musician, playing the trumpet and the shofar, a ram's horn. This resource is part of the NOVA: Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers Collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Blood Vessels Help Tumors Grow

    This video segment adapted from NOVA, features cancer researcher Dr. Judah Folkman and describes his approach to proving a new idea he had about how tumors grow inside the body. His idea focuses on angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels. Dr. Folkman designed experiments to test his central hypothesis and thus prove the support mechanism behind tumors.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Scientific Method (Media Gallery) | Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

    The history of cancer research has shown how scientists have used the basic steps of the scientific method to make new discoveries and advances in the understanding of cancer, cancer treatment and cancer cures. Watch the clips below about scientists Dr. Sidney Farber, Dr. Bernard Fisher, and Dr. Robert Weinberg, and identify and discuss the steps they took to make their discoveries. What was the problem they were trying to solve? What evidence did they have? What kind of experiments did they conduct? What conclusions did they draw from their experiments? Were they able to replicate their experiments?

    Grades: 6-12