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How Checkpoint Inhibitors work - some useful analogies

How Checkpoint Inhibitors work - some useful analogies

Recently there has been interest in a new way of tackling cancers, including CLL, namely Checkpoint Inhibitors:

It is often useful to use analogies to help us understand how new technologies work and Craig Hildreth, MD has come up with several analogies to help us understand how checkpoint inhibitors work.  From the Cancer Network:


Photo:  Seeding season will soon be here, with farmers now eagerly awaiting opening rains for the growing season.  Soon those travelling on country roads will occasionally be slowed in their travels by a convoy relocating a seeder to the next paddock.  It's quite impressive observing how some clever hydraulics fold these huge seeders up so they can fit through a farm gate and travel on public roads, but that's nothing compared to the folding required to get a 2 metre (80 inch) length of human DNA into a cell nucleus just 6 microns (a quarter of a thousandth of an inch) in diameter!

"The cell nucleus contains the majority of the cell's genetic material in the form of multiple linear DNA molecules organized into structures called chromosomes. Each human cell contains roughly two meters of DNA":

"Your DNA is arranged as a coil of coils of coils of coils of coils! This allows the 3 billion base pairs in each cell to fit into a space just 6 microns across.

If you stretched the DNA in one cell all the way out, it would be about 2m long and all the DNA in all your cells put together would be about twice the diameter of the Solar System":

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