Course Descriptions


 This course is intended for Life Science majors or those with a strong background in the Biological Sciences.

This course may be used to fulfill the elective requirements of the Biological Sciences major.

As of Fall 2008, this course may not be used to fulfill the elective requirements of the Genetics major.

Credit not given for both this course and Cancer 01:447:495



Fall, Spring, and Summer. This Synopsis is for Fall.




General Biology 01:119:115-116 or 01:119:101-102

Course Description

Introduction to Cancer provides an overview of biomedical aspects of malignancy as deviations from the normal biological processes. It builds upon some topics covered in pre-requisite courses, including molecules, cells, tissues, and organisms; and expands upon concepts such as homeostasis and regulation. The course reviews how specific alterations in normal genetic, cellular, and physiological processes are altered in cancer, and how the human systems respond to cancer cells and tumors. The clinical application of these facts and concepts for diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, and personalized therapy are discussed. Some specific cancer types are selected as examples, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, leukemia, and others. Current unmet medical challenges and possible future solutions are included.

Subjects that will be addressed during the course may include:

  • Biology and genetics of cells and organisms
  • The nature of cancer
  • Cellular and viral oncogenes
  • Oncoproteins: receptors, signal transduction, cell cycle control
  • Tumor suppressor genes
  • Tumor progression and tumor evolution
  • Tumor heterogeneity and tumor microenvironment
  • Invasion and metastasis
  • Cancer prevention
  • Clinical oncology: therapy and precision medicine

Course Syllabus 

Fall 2020 Syllabus

Course LMS


Course Satisfies Departmental  Learning Goals

  • Knowledge specific goals: Know the terms, concepts and theories in genetics.
  • Integrate the material from multiple courses and research. That is, to think holistically and to see the whole as well as the parts

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

There will be three equally weighted examinations, each 70 min in length.

Course Materials

Strongly suggest each student purchase: The Biology of Cancer, 2nd edition. Robert A. Weinberg. Garland Science, NY. 876 pages and DVD-ROM and Poster. ISBNs: 978-0-8153-4219-9 (hardcover); 978-0-8153-4220-5 (softcover). Also, a copy will be available in the Library of Science and Medicine.

Course Closed?

If this course is closed, please use the following link to add your name to the wait list: Wait List Sign Up for Fall 2022 Courses .  If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Life Science - Office of Undergraduate Instruction at 848-445-2075 or visit our office at Nelson Labs B112, Busch Campus.


Fall semester: Dr. David E. Axelrod, Department of Genetics, Nelson Biolabs, Room B341