Cancer Biology

Credits: 4 CREDITS (2P+2B)
Sites: HMS and Clinical Sites
Director(s): Harold Burstein, Randall King
Offered: January
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Open to Exclerks: No (HMS only)
Description: Summary: A revolution in the scientific understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of cancer is transforming the science and art of clinical cancer care. The course will emphasize how the basic science of cancer biology underpins issues such as cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and choice of therapy. Students will review and deepen their understanding of basic principles in cell biology, immunology, genetics, and pharmacology in the context of cancer biology. Participation in multidisciplinary oncology clinics will serve as a stimulus to identify unanswered questions that students will investigate during the course. Format of classroom-based sessions: Sessions will include CBCL led by course directors, discussion of the research literature, discussion of clinical questions, and seminars by outside speakers. In addition, each student will present a summary of a primary research paper and collaborate with other students to write a short research proposal. Each of these assignments will be based on topics of the students’ choosing and may span the breadth of clinical cancer medicine to basic cancer biology. Format of clinical/field experiences: Students will spend two mornings per week in two different subspecialty oncology clinics. The goal is to use patient encounters to stimulate the generation of questions that explore the boundary of what is known about cancer biology and medicine. Students will keep a log of patient experiences and questions that will be discussed in class. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. The course will consist of two half-days in clinic (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) and three half days in the classroom (Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons). Full day sessions will be scheduled during the first Monday and Wednesday of the course, as well as the last Friday of the course.