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Understanding Cancer Series

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  • Posted: 01/28/2005
  • Reviewed: 09/30/2009

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Slide 5

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Example of Normal Growth

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To illustrate what is meant by normal growth control, consider the skin. The thin outermost layer of normal skin, called the epidermis, is roughly a dozen cells thick. Cells in the bottom row of this layer, called the basal layer, divide just fast enough to replenish cells that are continually being shed from the surface of the skin. Each time one of these basal cells divides, it produces two cells. One remains in the basal layer and retains the capacity to divide. The other migrates out of the basal layer and loses the capacity to divide. The number of dividing cells in the basal layer, therefore, stays the same.

Example of Normal Growth