Cancer is defined as a dysregulation of the cellular replication cycle; or, in simpler terms, cancer is rapid, uncontrolled replication of a cell. There are a myriad of causes that can contribute to a cell going crazy. Certain genes have been identified as contributing to cause if mutations in such genes are involved in growth. These genes have been termed, oncogenes.

In general, an oncogene is a mutated gene whose protein product (that which is makes) is produced in higher quantities or whose altered product has increased activity and thereby acts in a dominant manner stimulating growth. Oncogenes (when defected) can hinder necessary cell death and/or stimulate replication. More than 100 oncogenes have been identified.

Another class of genes, Tumor Suppressor genes, act in opposition and “turn on” when rapid replication is detected to help stimulate cell death and protect us from a cancer diagnosis. Defects in these genes can limit their function and create a more susceptible environment for cancer.

See video for more:

Dr. Kevin Conners - Oncogenes, Suppressor genes and the Cell Cycle