Case Study – Mitosis, Cancer, and the HPV Vaccine

Students in my anatomy class get a quick review of the cell and mitosis. This activity on HPV shows how the cell cycle relates to overall health. In fact, many of the chapters in anatomy have anchoring phenomena on diseases and health. For example, cystic fibrosis is a cellular transport problem, but has serious effects on the lungs and respiratory system

When learning about the cell, we discuss how Tay-sachs is a disease associated with the lysosomes, and cystic fibrosis is a membrane transport problem. The older anatomy students can no see how those organelles are related to the overall health and functioning of the body.

This activity discusses how cancer is a problem with the cell cycle. Viruses, like HPV, or human papillomavirus, can disrupt the cell cycle and cause cervical cancer. The project reads like a case study, where students read text and answer questions.

They also analyze data from the CDC and even interpret infographics to help them understand the association between mitosis (cell cycle) and cancer.

cell cycle

The activity also asks them to evaluate the need for the HPV vaccine in both girls and boys by comparing data regarding cases of other types of cancer that can be associated with the virus.

Students can write the answers directly on the slides which can be assigned and submitted through Google Classroom. The final slide asks for a synthesis of the information and to take a position on whether young people should get a vaccine to protect against certain types of cancer.

There is no right or wrong answer, I only ask that my students justify their position with scientific details that show their understanding of the cell cycle and viruses.

The TpT link has answers or suggested responses as well as a download of the PowerPoint version of Google Slides.