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Prospectus

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Immunotherapy of Cancer

Course
2019-2020

Admission requirements

Students can enroll for a half minor if they have obtained 60 credits from the first year.

International Students should have an adequate background in Medicine. Admission will be considered based on CV and motivation letter.
For more information, please contact internationalisering@lumc.nl.

Description

In this half minor, students will learn the immunological principles and effective mechanisms of anti-cancer immunotherapies which are currently used in the clinic or under development, and why certain anti-cancer strategies give rise to serious side effects. In addition to non-specific stimulation of innate immunity, students will study antigen-specific approaches and how antibodies and T-lymphocytes can be exploited to combat cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors, gene therapy and oncolytic viruses will be discusses as well as ethical and financial aspects of immunotherapy. Finally, the clinical value of allogeneic stem cell transplantation in which a healthy donor derived immune system is transplanted to treat leukemia or other hematological malignancies will be studied.

Course objectives

  1. Explain how interactions between different components of the immune system lead to a functional immune response (academic expert);
  2. Consider the balance between (potential) efficacy and toxicity to evaluate the value of different tumor antigens for immunotherapy of cancer by searching the literature and public databases (academic expert and collaborator);
  3. Estimate the contribution of different components of the innate immune system in anti-tumor responses and explain their potential application for therapy of cancer by searching the literature (academic expert, communicator);
  4. Relate the type of antigens and immunological responses as exploited in (novel) therapies of cancer to evaluate (potential) clinical benefits and undesired side effects for the patient in a comparative study of two articles (academic expert, communicator, collaborator);
  5. Deduce from a patients’ history which type (or failure) of immunological response may explain clinical behavior of the malignancy or occurrence of undesired side effects after therapy (medical expert);
  6. Translate the main message of a novel immunotherapy to a lay audience in the form of a newspaper article (communicator);
  7. Compare different immunotherapies, evaluate their (potential) benefits and threats and propose improvements (academic expert, communicator, collaborator).

Timetable

All course and group schedules are published on our LUMC scheduling website or on the LUMC scheduling app.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, workgroups, patient demonstrations, clinical cases, visit (out)patient clinic and laboratory visits.

Course load

Total course load is the amount of EC’s multiplied with 28 hours.

Assessment method

Essay questions
The exam consists of open questions based on a pre-evaluated question and answer model. The mark constitutes 15% of the final mark.
Rating: mark 1-10
Assessed by: 2 minor teachers

Oral presentations
Groups of 2-3 students prepare oral presentations in each of the modules on solid tumors (week 2-4), innate immunity (week 5) and hematological malignancies (week 6-8) and final assignment (week 9-10).
Rating: mark 1-10
Assessed by: all teachers of workgroups with oral presentations (formative for literature study in week 2-4; summative in week 5-10). Oral presentations in hematological malignancies (1x). newspaper article (1x) and final assignment (1x) will be assessed by teachers in the half minor. The average mark of these 3 presentations will count for 15% of the final mark.
Assessment: an assessment form with rubrics for oral presentations has been developed. Each student will be assessed individually for his/her contribution to the oral presentation.

Literature study
The students will be divided in small groups (3-4) and write a literature review on one specific type of cancer. During the course there will be coaching moments by the supervisors. Students will present their findings.
Rating: mark 1-10 (constitutes 20% of the final mark)
Assessed by: two coordinators of the half minor
Assessment criteria: an assessment form with rubrics for the literature study has been developed. Each student will be assessed individually for his/her contribution to the literature study.

Newspaper article
Students will receive a recent article on a novel immunotherapy and guidelines for writing a newspaper article with 6 topics (2 knowledge, 2 understanding, 2 communication) that should be addressed and considered. Students need to prepare a draft version individually, which will be discussed in a workgroup.
Rating: mark 1-10 (constitutes 10% of final mark)
Assessed by: two coordinators of the half minor
Assessment criteria: an assessment form with rubrics for writing a newspaper article including criteria for clear and intelligible language and adequate adherence to the topics of the guidelines.

**Clinical protocol (final assignment) **
Students have to design an improvement and write a clinical protocol on a novel immunotherapy of cancer. Guidelines with topics that should be addressed and considered in writing a clinical protocol will be provided. This final assignment will be performed in groups of 2-3 students, and each group has to develop a new immunotherapy for one specific type of cancer. The contribution of each student to the written clinical protocol should be clearly indicated in the protocol. Rating: mark 1-10 (constitutes 40% of final mark)
Assessed by: two coordinators of the half minor
Assessment criteria: an assessment form with rubrics for a written clinical protocol including criteria for clarity and adequate addressing of the various topics as provided in the guidelines as well as for originality, feasibility and applicability of the improvement. Each student will be assessed individually for his/her contribution to the written clinical protocol.

ADDITIONAL TESTS

**1. Patient Information Form **
Assessment: Pass/Fail
Assessed by: one coordinator of the half minor
Assessment criteria: the patient information form will be assessed for clarity and adequate addressing of the various topics as provided in the guidelines.

**2. Report on flow cytometry (visit to the research lab) **
Assessment: Pass/Fail
Assessed by: coordinators of the half minor
Assessment criteria: students will be assessed for knowledge and understanding of the methodology and presentation and discussion of the results.

**3. Report on morphological diagnosis (visit to the diagnostic lab) **
Assessment: Pass/Fail
Assessed by: coordinators of the half minor
Assessment criteria: students will be assessed for knowledge and understanding of the methodology and presentation and discussion of the results.

Examination committee: Dr. M.W. Schilham, Dr. M. Griffioen & Dr. P.J. de Vos van Steenwijk

The exam dates can be found on the schedule website.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used during this course.

Reading list

The immune system, 4th edition, Peter Parham, Garland Science 2015.

Registration

Students are required to register for exams through uSis. The registration for a working group is done by handing in your ‘studieplan’.

Contacts

Marco W. Schilham
Pediatrics, basic scientist
071-526 4462
M.W.Schilham@lumc.nl

Marieke Griffioen
Hematology, basic scientist
071-526 5143
M.Griffioen@lumc.nl

Mariette van Poelgeest
Gynecology, medical doctor
071-526 2845
M.I.E.van_Poelgeest@lumc.nl