The course will provide comprehensive, updated views of the molecular, genomic and immunological aspects of cancer, as well as present tumours as multi-faceted organs. We will adopt a historical perspective, which will follow the discovery of tumour viruses, oncogenes and the cellular proto-oncogenes. Cancer initiation and progression will be described as multi-step processes driven by mutations and Darwinian evolution, while capturing signal transduction and metabolic pathways. The regulation of the cell cycle, apoptosis and senescence by tumour suppressor genes, such as p53 and Rb will be discussed in light of genome integrity, replication stress and the origin of mutations. We will then focus on angiogenesis, the tumor microenvironment, the cell biology of invasion and metastasis. An especially important aspect of the tumour microenvironment, namely participation of immune cells, will be critically described. The course will devote the final lectures to cancer therapy, including checkpoint inhibitors (immunotherapy), chimeric antigen receptors and molecular targeted treatments, including experimental strategies.
The course will confer a holistic view of cancer as an organ and a game field of many cell types, especially immune cells. The roles for mutations and mutation generating processes will be highlighted, and terms like tumour heterogeneity, driver and passenger genes will be defined. Finally, the audience will receive a snapshot highlighting cancer therapy, the process leading to approval of cancer drugs and the contemporary arsenal of drugs available to medical oncologists.