This innovative course addressed the problems inherent in the development of subspecialties in Oncology. The attendees were medical oncologists, mostly looking after patients with breast cancer. They would have kept up with difficulty as this area has mushroomed in the last five years. What they have certainly not had time to follow is the parallel explosion in basic and translational systems biology which must impact quickly on their clinical practice, if outcomes for breast cancer patients are to further improve.
So the candidates on this course:
- were exposed to the very latest cancer research methodologies in model systems from yeasts to knockout rodents, the discipline of selection of critical subcellular control pathways, the genomics which guide them and the cellular catastrophes which are the hallmark of breast cancer development.
- were given insights by demonstrations in the labs of the IFOM-IEO Campus (which house 520 scientists ca.) and discussions of experimental design and execution of studies.
- took part in discussions in small groups covering statistics, analysis of results, application of data, and testing clinical hypotheses generated by preclinical studies.
- were tested on understanding the limitations of those basic and translational experiments (central to the syllabus),
- were asked to dissect of published results from basic and translational science journals (a Journal Club format for clinicians)
- The balance of teaching was 80% lab-based and 20% didactic formal lectures from leading experts in and around the European Institute of Oncology (IEO).
Gordon McVie (European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy)