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Experimental oncology

Course code:






Degree program:

Course in Medical Biotechnologies









Comprehensive course:

Neoplastic and proliferative disorders

Academic year:



Course objectives

The course will provide students with fundaments of general oncology and knowledge about cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis, as well as about experimental approaches in the field of oncological research.


Knowledge and skills expectations

The students must possess the basic knowledge in cell and molecular biology and in biochemistry.


Course program

Tumors: generality, epidemiology, etiology. Genetic and environmental (chemical, biological and physical risk factors; viral carcinogenesis; hormones) causes of cancer. Histopathology and clinical classification of Tumors. Tumor natural history. Carcinogenesis as a multi-step process. Genetic and epigenetic events. Angiogenesis. The role of inflammation. Infiltrative growth. Epithelial mesenchimal transition. Neoplastic progression. Metastasis. Stem cell theory. Tumor-host interactions. Cancer cachexia. Metabolic systemic consequences of cancer. Molecular oncology. Oncogenes and oncosuppressor. Mechanisms of activation and inactivation. Functional consequences. Failure in neoplastic cell populations of physiological antineoplastic defense mechanisms (apoptosis, DNA repair, cell senescence; dormancy). Failure in proteome homeostasis (Ubiquitin and autophagy systems). Mechanisms of antineoplastic drug resistance. Outline of conventional and molecular therapeutic approaches to neoplastic diseases.


Practical training

Students will be involved in Journal Club meetings in which scientific papers relevant for their preparation will be discussed.


Optional activities

Students are welcome to spend a period in the laboratory of Molecular Pathology to participate in the design, execution and discussion of experiments. CFU will be assigned based on the duration of the stage.


Course materials

A copy of the slides will be provided


Required texbooks / Bibliographic resources


Methods of evaluation

  1. Written test (30 minutes for 3 statements):
    answer TRUE/FALSE and give an explanation to support your answer in 5 (not less) to 10 (not more) lines (please, write in a legible writing).
    At least 2 out of 3 answers must be correct in order to be admitted to the next step (oral examination).
    Evaluation: 6-8/30 points for each question
  2. Oral examination (approx. 10-20 min): 
    1. Discussion of the written test.
    2. Discussion of an original article dealing with a subject of your choice inherent the program of the course and published in a good journal (consult with your professor for an appropriate choice)
      Evaluation: 4-6/30 points
    3. (optional): 1 or 2 extra question(s).
      Evaluation 2-4/30, Laude

The final score is agreed between the two Professors as an average of the scores obtained for the two modules. 

Minimal score for each module is 18/30
Maximal score is 30 + Laude/30


To access the exam the student must have filled up the course evaluation form.

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