Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Cancer in Air
Name: Kristine
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: PA
Country: United States
Date: June 2008


Question:
Why does cancer cells reproduce faster in the human body when it touches air?



Replies:
Like all cells, cancer cells require Oxygen to break down glucose for the purpose of producing ATP. Although cells can produce some ATP without Oxygen through glycolysis, they can produce almost 20 times as much in the presence of Oxygen.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.


I'm not sure that 'touching air' helps, them, but because cancer cells grow so quickly, they need more oxygen than other cells. That's why cancer cells have special machinery to signal the body to grow more blood vessels around them. The vessels feed them more oxygen, which allows the cancer cells to grow and multiply faster. The end result is a 'tumor'.

Hope this helps,
Burr



Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory