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How to biohack your cells to fight cancer - Greg Foot

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  • TEDEd Animation

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The human body is made up of about 30 trillion cells that carry a code which has been duplicated over and over for billions of years - with varying degrees of accuracy. So what happens when the system breaks down and the machinery turns on itself, leading to cancer? Greg Foot dives into the science of how biologists are biohacking the human body to try to fix the seemingly unfixable.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Greg Foot
  • Director Pierangelo Pirak
  • Music Eric Samothrakis
  • Animation Assistant Cosimo Chirico, David Antolini
  • Character Designer Patrick Walsh
  • Illustration Colorist Patricia Ferguson
  • Science Consultant Martin Pule, Claire Roddie
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
The film explains a new and successful approach to cancer treatment - CAR T-Cell therapy, in which the T-Cells of a patient’s white blood cells are genetically engineered to give them entirely new abilities in recognising a patient’s own cancer cells.

The video is structured into two main components: an introduction to the immune system and CAR T-cells, followed by a detailed examination of the genetic engineering and use of CAR T-cells. The video makes an ideal teaching aid for science teachers, especially GCSE level.

Before showing the film, we recommend handing out the worksheet and quiz and having a discussion centred around keywords. It may also be helpful to watch the video a second time after the quiz to re-affirm key learning objectives.

Teachers Guide to using the video, including how it links with the GCSE curriculum
Guide to key words and key points with video timecodes
GCSE worksheet including 5-10 minute pop-quiz
GCSE worksheet answers
A level Genetic Engineering worksheet
A level Cells and the Immune System worksheet


Special thanks to Svenja Wheatley & Rosamund Yu.
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Greg Foot
  • Director Pierangelo Pirak
  • Music Eric Samothrakis
  • Animation Assistant Cosimo Chirico, David Antolini
  • Character Designer Patrick Walsh
  • Illustration Colorist Patricia Ferguson
  • Science Consultant Martin Pule, Claire Roddie
  • See more