Course Title: The Biology of Cancer Course Level: Postgraduate

Course Title: The Biology of Cancer
Course Level: Postgraduate
Lecture Time: 3-6 (St / Wed)
Course code: BISC 6358
Academic Staff Specifics : Dr. Saeb Aliwaini.
Email: [email protected]
Office hours ( Faculty of science building 307) : Sat, Mon, Wed 10-11
Course module description:
The profound impact of cancer on our society has been the driving force behind major research
advances in this field. A better understanding of the basic biology of cancer and its impact on the
human body has led to more effective treatments, enhanced detection methods, and the
development of prevention strategies. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the
biology of cancer. The first part of the course will focus on the genetic and molecular basis of
cancer. We will explore the role of mutations in cancer cells and how they lead to the
deregulation of essential biological properties such as programmed cell death, cell proliferation,
and differentiation. The second part of the course will focus on the interface of cancer and
medicine. Classical treatment methods will be compared with newer treatment modalities, such
as targeted therapies. We will also explore the challenges associated with diagnosing cancers, as
well as ways in which to prevent cancer.
Course module objectives:
At the end of this module, student will be able to answer principle questions such as:
- What are the common cellular and molecular mechanisms that are deregulated
in cancerous cells, and how does their deregulation contribute to the
development of cancer?
- What role does gene mutation play in the development of cancer? In what ways
can cancer be considered a “heritable” trait?
In what ways do environmental factors influence cancer susceptibility and how may we
use this information to prevent cancer?
How does cancer manifest itself in the human body? What features of cancer lead to high
mortality rates?
What is the biological rationale for both traditional chemotherapies and novel targeted
therapeutic approaches? What are the benefits and limitations of each option?
In what ways can genomic technologies provide insight into cancer prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment? What are the limitations of these technologies?
Course/ module components
Weinberg, Robert A. The Biology of Cancer, Second edition. New York: Garland Science,
Course/module academic calendar
The Biology and Genetics of Cells and Organisms
The Nature of Cancer
Tumor Viruses and Cellular Oncogenes
Growth Factors, Receptors, and Cancer
Cytoplasmic Signaling Circuitry Programs Many of the Traits of
Tumor Suppressor Genes
pRb and Control of the Cell Cycle Clock
p53 and Apoptosis and autophagy
Eternal Life: Cell Immortalization and Tumorigenesis
Multi-Step Tumorigenesis
Moving Out: Invasion and Metastasis
Crowd Control: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy
The Rational Treatment of Cancer
Attendance policy: Absence from lectures shall not exceed 25%. Students who exceed
the 25% limit without a medical or emergency excuse acceptable to and approved by the
Dean of the relevant college/faculty shall not be allowed to take the final examination
and shall receive a mark of zero for the course. If the excuse is approved by the Dean, the
student shall be considered to have withdrawn from the course.
Mid exam 20 marks
Final Exam 40 marks
Activities 40 marks : Quizzes and presentations
Journals: Any cancer research journal will be of great benefits to the student for
their assignment.
Examples :
Nature reviews cancer
(IF 37)
Cancer research
(IF 9)
Cancer letter
(IF 5)
Breast cancer research
(IF 5)
Molecular cancer research ( IF 4)