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Molecular Biology and Oncology


Admission requirements

Knowledge from Molecular Biology, Cellular Communication and Immunology is the basis for a number of topics.


This module integrates oncology and various aspects of its molecular biology. Cancer will be discussed in all its aspects, from basic genetics to clinics. Therefore the 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 behavior including the metastatic properties, interaction of tumor cells and stroma, angiogenesis, epidemiology and pathology of cancer, the immunological response to tumors, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and new therapies on basis of the insights in cancer development.

Course objectives

  • You can gain insight into the molecular processes involved in cell proliferation and malignant degeneration thereof.

  • You can describe the development of cancer as well as the molecular events that cause the cancerous state.

  • You can recognize morphology, nomenclature and biological behavior of tumors and make a distinction between benign and malignant tumors.

  • You can understand the principles of diagnosis and treatment of cancer on the basis of your molecular knowledge of its development.

  • You can design and perform experiments used in cancer research.

  • You can give an oral presentation on these experiments and write an English report in the format of a scientific publication.

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 practicals that have to be designed and performed. Reports should be presented to prove that the experiments are understood. The experiments include: pathology; flow cytometry; 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 practicals and obligatory assignments have to be executed sufficiently. Two practicals will be judged with a mark that counts for 15% of the final mark.

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.