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MICa 8013


Spring 2020
2 Credits
(Prerequisites: MICa 8012, MICa 8004 or instructor’s consent)
Tuesdays, 8:00-8:50AM, 2-118 Moos Tower


Course Coordinator: David Potter, M.D., Ph.D., 612-625-8933,
Course Administrator: Pam Hansen phone # (612) 626-4935  fax # (612) 625-6919

Course description:

The goals of the course are to expose Ph.D. students to clinical issues in cancer research and to discuss translational research projects as they pertain to a variety of cancers. In particular, we will present cutting-edge concepts in cancer treatment including immunotherapy, anti-angiogenesis, small molecules, pharmacogenomics, and cancer prevention in high-risk populations. We will emphasize exciting and controversial topics in treatment of a variety of important cancers.

Biostatistical Methods – Dr. John Connett – 02/04/20
History of Radiation Oncology– Dr. Jianling Yuan – 02/11/20
Pediatric Cancer – Dr. Brenda Weigel – 02/18/20
Cancer Genomics – Dr. Scott Dehm – 02/25/20
Vascular Complications – Dr. Anne Blaes – 03/3/20
Spring Break - 3/9/20
Experimental Therapeutics – Dr. David Potter – 3/17/20
Lung Cancer –Robert Kratzke – 03/24/20
Prostate Cancer Screening – Dr. Christopher Warlick - 3/31/20
Breast Cancer – Dr. Douglas Yee – 04/07/20
Leukemia – Jeff Miller – 04/14/20
Epigenetic Therapy for Cancer – Dr. David Largaespada – 04/21/20
Immunotherapy for Cancer – Dr. Chris Pennell – 04/28/20

Who this course is designed for:
Students will be 2nd year Cancer Biology track students in the MICaB PhD program, but is open to other students who can register with instructor approval.  Postdoctoral fellows may want to audit this course. They must have completed and passed a basic cancer biology graduate course (MICa 8004) before registering for this class. They should be knowledgeable about cancer biology, but may have little, if any, clinical knowledge.

Student Performance Objectives:
After completing this course we expect students to understand the basic kinds of cancer therapy, stages of translational research from pre-clinical studies through Phase I/II/III trials, and be able to read and understand current literature in these areas.  In addition, students should develop the skills to critically evaluate translational cancer research data and new ideas and do so in a class room/discussion setting.  Finally, they should be capable of developing independent ideas and presenting them clearly in oral presentations.

Clinical Experience:
As part of this course students will have an opportunity to experience out of class clinical experiences by attendance at their choice of a tumor board during the semester. They should attend their choice weekly during the semester.

Text and Reference Materials:
No text is assigned. Lecturers will provide pertinent reading materials (usually a published peer- reviewed manuscript) at least 2 days before their first lecture. Course materials will be made available to you on the Moodle course site.

HIPAA training
All participants in this course must complete University required HIPAA training before the class starts.  Students cannot attend any meetings where family and/or friends are being discussed. This can be found at:

• One take-home exam – 50%
• In class paper presentation – 25%
• Clinical experience/participation – 25%

Please show up to class on time! We only have 50 minutes. There will be 1 take home problem set, worth 50% of the final grade. The take home exam will consist of a paper to read and 3-5 questions related to the paper. We expect a 3-5 page written answer to these questions – possibly with illustration(s) to help explain your points. Please email your take home exam answers to Dr. Potter AND turn in a printed copy.

25% of the grade will be based on an in class presentation describing a breakthrough in cancer treatment including significant clinical research. Students can use PowerPoint and data projector or overhead transparencies. Topics should be approved with Dr. Potter prior to the presentations at the end of the semester.

Participation and clinical experiences will make up the final 25% of the grade. Students will be required to spend time in clinical “experiences” in the form of weekly attendance at a clinical board meeting. These are held at different times and places during each week.  For this experience, all participants in this course must complete University required HIPAA training before the class starts. This can be found at:

See the schedule below:

- Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board: Dr. Robert Kratzke, Dr. Rafael Andrade. Tuesdays at noon. Lillehei Conference room (first floor of the DVRCC/Masonic Cancer Center building). Schedule subject to change – please contact director with questions.
- Breast Cancer Tumor Board: Dr. Doug Yee, Dr. Todd Tuttle. Fridays at 8 AM. Mayo Building C456. Schedule subject to change, please contact Susan Pappas-Varco to receive email schedule announcements. (
- Pediatric HemOnc Conferences:  Dr. Brenda Weigel. Wednesdays at 8:30am in Masonic Children’s Hospital 4th Fl Wards Conf Room
- Head and Neck Tumor Board:   Dr. Zuzan Cayci PWB 8-335 Fridays 8 a.m.
- Neuro-oncology Tumor Board:  Dr. Matthew Hunt. Mondays at 1 PM in Mayo C456 Schedule subject to change – please contact director with questions.
- Hematology/Oncology Tumor Board:  Dr. Robert Kratzke. Wednesdays at noon (No meeting the 1st Wednesday of the month). PWB 14-109. Schedule subject to change – please contact director with questions.
- Hematological Malignancy Conference: Dr. Anne Blaes. 2nd and 4th Monday at 2:30pm in D-219-3 Mayo. Schedule subject to change – please contact director with questions.
- Phase I meeting: Dr. Manish Patel PWB 14-109 Tuesdays at 11 AM.


Syllabus: (Download thiS PDF)