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Molecular Biology and Oncology


Admission requirements

Knowledge about basic principles in Molecular Biology, Cellular Communication and Immunology is required.


Cancer will be discussed in all its aspects, from basic genetics to treatment options in the clinic. Therefore, this module deals with general molecular biology, DNA replication and repair, transcription regulation, protein synthesis, molecular biology of viruses, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, alterations in cell behaviour including the metastatic properties, interaction of tumour cells and stroma, angiogenesis, epidemiology and pathology of cancer, the immunological response to tumours, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and new therapies on basis of the insights in cancer development.

Course objectives

  • The student can explain how changes in molecular processes in a cell result in transformation to cancer (cell cycle, apoptosis, oncogenes and suppressor genes) and how the tumour microenvironment impact cancer progression (heterogeneity, angiogenesis, metastasis and immunity).

  • The student can classify tumours on basis of morphology, nomenclature and biological behaviour.

  • The student can translate and extrapolate molecular knowledge of cancer to current and futur anticancer therapies.

  • The student can design and perform representative experiments frequently used in cancer research and gains skills to report results in oral and written presentations.

Mode of instruction

The major part of the program consists of self-study assignments that are discussed in workgroups. Some of the assignments have to be performed with the computer and answers have to be send by email.
There are practicums that have to be designed and performed. Reports should be presented to prove that the experiments are understood. The experiments include: microscopic pathology; oncogenic transformation of cells in culture; effects of transformation on protein expression or an analysis of genetic alterations in cancer.
A number of insight seminars will be given. Those seminars will discuss research that requires the knowledge that has been studied in this module. The clinical aspects will be illustrated with patient demonstrations.

Assessment method

The exam consists of 36 open questions. It is an open book exam. The mark for this exam is 85% of the final mark for this module. All practicums and obligatory assignments have to be executed sufficiently. Two practicums will be judged with a mark that counts for 15% of the final mark.
Exam dates can be found on: Onderwijsroosters.

Reading list

  • R.A. Weinberg, The Biology of Cancer.
    In addition some other books required in previous courses (kernboeken) may be used, like:

  • B. Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell.