Course Description

410.709 - Cancer Genomics

Alterations to the genome are the basis of cancer development, but not all mutations cause cancer. Cancer genomics is the study of cancer cell genomes to elucidate how changes from the normal host genome drive cancer development, and how these changes can be targeted for better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In this course, students learn about the multi-step process of tumorigenesis and the confounding development of passenger mutations that challenge the use of genomics to inform therapies. Students will use bioinformatics tools to analyze human cancer genomic data sets to understand the genetic basis of cancer and how to identify genetic signatures in tumors to guide treatment. Topics also include the development of drug resistance, biological sample acquisition, the technologies used to identify and distinguish pathogenic alleles, and how data is stored, referenced, and shared. Discussions about clinical trials and standards of care based on cancer genomics, and about the ethical challenges raised by the use of genomic information to make personal care decisions, are included in the course. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.603 Advanced Cellular Biology I. 410.638 Cancer Biology is recommended. S