The human body is made up of trillions of individual cells. Each cell contains the complete DNA code needed to make every part of the human body. Genes are long strands of DNA that give each person their individual characteristics.Sometimes, cancer can be caused by errors in specific genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 that have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer or EGFR that has been linked to lung and colon cancer. This large amount of DNA can fit into a cell because it is tightly packaged into unique chromosome structures. Each cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, making 46 chromosomes in total. Thousands of genes are located in each chromosome, and this packaging helps ensure that the DNA is kept intact during cell replication and division. When a cell divides, it first duplicates all 46 chromosomes so they can be split evenly into the two daughter cells. Each daughter cell will receive two copies of every chromosome. A system of checkpoints throughout cell division normally regulates this critical process. If something goes wrong during cell division and chromosomes are not divided evenly, there will be an abnormal number of chromosomes in each daughter cell, this is called aneuploidy. Aneuploidy usually refers to the addition or deletion of one full chromosome.
The Central Principles of Molecular Biology video series is meant to help explain molecular profiling and cancer, so that you can understand how Caris molecular profiling helps fight cancer through precision oncology.