Using Biomarkers to Identify Lung Cancer Subtypes is an activity developed by Learning Undefeated as part of Generation Health: How Science Powers Us. Generation Health is a partnership between Learning Undefeated, AstraZeneca, and Discovery Education that aims to make science personal through a focus on healthy living messaging. Using Biomarkers to Identify Lung Cancer Subtypes can be used after the Oncology Digital Lesson Bundle to explore how biomarkers are used in diagnoses to help provide targeted cancer treatments.
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. The two major subtypes of lung cancer are small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Like its name indicates, small cell lung cancer has smaller cells than non-small cell lung cancer. The small cells make the disease spread faster, metastasizing quickly to other body parts.
Cancer cells, like all cells, have protein and lipid markers on the outside of their cells. These molecules, called biomarkers, help the body to identify the different types of cells that are nearby. Because we have identified biomarkers that are unique to SCLC and NSCLC, we can use that information to help diagnose a patient. By getting a subtype diagnosis of SCLC or NSCLC instead of the broad lung cancer diagnosis, a patient can receive targeted treatment.
Students will be able to
- Students will understand the role of biomarkers in cancer diagnoses
- Students will understand the antibody/antigen relationship and how it can be used for diagnosis
- Students will be able to run an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) to diagnose a patient with a subtype of lung cancer.
- Students will be able to explain false-positive results