Wishing For A Video Game To Explain Cancer To Kids

from the done-and-done dept

Every time you hear about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, it usually involves a kid who wants to meet an athlete, musician or movie star. Those requests probably aren't all that difficult to fulfill. However, when Ben Duskin, a child with Leukemia, decided he wanted a video game that could teach children what cancer was all about, it turned out to be a fairly difficult request. Eventually, though, the Foundation tracked down a game programmer from LucasArts who worked with Ben to create the game he wanted and which he hopes will help other kids understand what they're going through. They're now offering the game as a free download off their website. It doesn't sound like the most sophisticated game, but obviously that's not the point.
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  1. identicon
    dorpus, 28 Jun 2004 @ 6:30am

    What about kids with 17,000 IQs?

    Should we talk about the three major causes of cancer: oncogenes, oncoviruses, failure of tumor repression genes? Oncogenes typically fall into three categories of proteins involved in cell signaling: growth factors, tyrosine kinases, and transcription factors. For example, the proto-oncogene ras is a signal transducer, normally inactivated by extracellular signals. The smart child will learn about the chemical cycle starting with growth factor, receptor tyrosine-kinase, membrane-associated G-protein, serine/threonine kinases, transcription factors, and finally the CDK/cyclin/E2F which trigger passage through the restriction point. We would also cover chronic myelogenous leukimia, in which the leukemic cells have a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22. In addition, we will go over the p53 tumor supressor gene, coding for a transcription factor, its failure to trigger apoptosis. The final examination at the end of the game will also cover the difference between intercalating agents such as acrydine orange and alkylative agents such as nitroguanidine. For extra credit, the gifted child will draw diagrams showing the difference between a vertical cut and horizontal cut in the Holliday model, and how this affects heterozygotic crossover supression.

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