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This course provides students with a rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the genesis and progression of human cancers. It builds on the basic science knowledge acquired in the core curriculum and the appreciation of cancer as a disease obtained from the Pathology and Cancer Medicine courses. The salient topics covered include stem cells, oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, tumor-host interactions, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. A major theme of the course is to integrate the biology of cancer with the clinical behavior of tumors. Faculty from the Department of Cancer Biology and other basic science departments participate in the teaching of this course.
The overall goal of the course is to expose students to the pathology of different types of cancers that occur in humans and the methods used for diagnosis, including histology, cytology, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and molecular diagnostics. Faculty from the Departments of Pathology and Cancer Biology teach this course. The course starts with a review of normal tissue histology of all the major organ systems and an overview of diagnostic techniques. The remainder of the course consists of organ-based lectures in tumor pathology along with a hands-on microscopic review of pathologic tumor samples. The general format of the six-week course consists of a one-hour lecture followed by a one-hour laboratory session, given three days per week.