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Our Project for Awesome 2014 video! In which we discuss an amazing organization creating innovative new pathways in the treatment of cancer.

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Created and Hosted by:
Emma Mills & Mike Martin
Mike is also a Young Adult novelist. His book, THE END GAMES, is available at all online booksellers, including
Indiebound ( ) and Amazon: (

Written by:
Emma Mills

(Gotta cite the landmark paper, The Hallmarks of Cancer, for the info presented here:

Directed and Edited by:
T. Michael (Mike) Martin

Executive Producers:
Hank & John Green
Emma and Michael: Hey!
Emma: So it's that Project for Awesome time of year again, and we here at How to Adult want to get specific and we want to get scientific, so let's talk about cancer.
Michael: Chances are, directly or indirectly, you're been affected by cancer in some way, and today we'd like to talk about some of the science behind it.
Emma: We're no experts, but we want to walk you through some of the stuff that cancer is doing on a cellular level in the body. Basically, there's some general hallmarks of cancer that define how cancer cells progress from one little messed up cell to a population of cells that can cause devastating effects in the body.
Michael: Hallmark number one: Self sufficiency in growth signals. Normally, signals in your body tell cells to grow. With cancer, they're creating their own signals, so they don't need permission from your body to grow. Basically, if cancer were a roommate that you hate, they refuse to go to the grocery store and have started ordering in all the time.
Emma: Number two -- insensitivity to growth signals. So in addition to these signals that tell cells "Hey cells, you should grow," there are signals that tell cells "Hey cells, you shouldn't grow." So you say "Hey roommate, stop ordering out all the time," but your roommate doesn't listen.
Michael: Number three. Limitless replicative potential. There's this thing called they Hayflick limit, which is the number of times a normal cell population can divide until cell division stops. Cancer cells defy this limit, acquiring limitless ability to replicate and thus grow tumors. Basically, you think there's only so much stuff your crappy roommate can own, but they keep acquiring more and more and more stuff.
Emma: At a certain point in tumor growth, cancer cells can break off and migrate into the bloodstream, and find new places in the body to live and grow. This is what's called metastasis; it's basically the formation of satellite tumors in other parts of the body. So basically, your roommate's stuff used to be confined to their room, but now it's everywhere.
Michael: Number five -- sustained angiogenesis. The tumor needs its own blood supply to survive, so it recruits cells and growth factors to create its own vasculature and create its own blood supply. Basically, if Netflix were your life blood, your crappy roommate has somehow tapped into it.
Emma: Number six -- evading apoptosis. So apoptosis is what's known as programmed cell death. Basically when a cell gets too old or is dysfunctional, it eliminates itself. Cancer cells are capable of evading apoptosis, which means that they don't die off.
Michael: In the roomies metaphor, you try to evict your roommate, but you can't.
Emma: There are many researchers out there right now, targeting cancer from these cellular hallmarks, and from many other angles, too. And there are many national and international cancer foundations focusing on research, treatment, and a funding of patient care.
Michael: For the purposes of the Project for Awesome, we're going to highlight the Cancer Research Institute. The CRI funds scientific research, pursuing new strategies in the treatment of cancer. Their particular research focus is immunotherapy, treatments that harness and enhance the innate powers of the immune system to fight cancer.
Emma: This organization funds fellowship programs and research grants; they also have a unique clinical accelerator program which aims to provide resources to nonprofit cancer researchers in order to accelerate clinical trials and research.
Michael: We'll list some more information about the CRI, and also about how and where you can get involved, in the dooblydoo.
We'll also include some links to some other prominent cancer foundations.
Emma: If there's a cancer organization near and dear to your heart, please shout it out in the comment section below.
Mike: Feel free to check out; there's a lot of great stuff going on there.
Emma: In the meantime, DFTBA.
(How to Adult music)