Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. In spite of focused research efforts, cancer still poses a unique biomedical puzzle as it is now recognized that cancer is not a single disease, but rather a collection of many disorders with underlying mechanistic complexities that can affect most tissues in the human body. This interactive 1st-semester course provides an introductory overview of the biology of human cancers. We touch upon background topics in DNA structure and replication, gene regulation and transcription, protein synthesis, mutations and DNA repair, but the primary focus is on the genetic and molecular changes that normal cells undergo during transformation into malignant tumors. Part I highlights the first three (of eight) central characteristics of cancer (known as the "hallmarks of cancer") - sustained proliferation, evasion of growth suppression, and replicative immortality. The course is a mix of lectures, student-led discussions/presentations, and activities. Lectures provide an overview of each topic, while activities and discussions of cutting-edge oncology topics in the news and primary literature familiarize students with current trends in cancer research as well as enhance reading and critical analysis skills. Students choose a specific topic/theme within the cancer paradigm for further study and near the end of the semester prepare a presentation to the class on the implications for cancer survivorship. Midterm Exams, which attendance is required, will be administered on Wednesday, October 19, 6:30 - 8:30 pm & Wednesday, November 16, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.
Prerequisite: High school biology and chemistry, while completing AP or Honors biology is highly recommended. Enrollment is limited to 20 students and restricted to first-year students in the "Hallmarks of Cancer & Patient Care" program.
Course Attributes: FA NSM; BU SCI; AR NSM; AS NSM; AMP