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 in the 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. 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 that differentiate one type of cancer from another. Activities include the identification of actionable mutations and biomarkers in hypothetical patients and their assignment to appropriate individualized cancer therapies. Topics also include the development of drug resistance, combinatorial therapies, and understanding the laboratory tests used to inform cancer therapy. Discussions about the ethical challenges raised by the use of genomic information to make personal care decisions is included in the course. Prerequisites: All four core courses or equivalent; 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics; 410.638 Cancer Biology is recommended.