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Session 01Cancer Biology and Genetics

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumors and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs; the latter process is referred to as metastasis. Widespread metastases are the primary cause of death from cancer. The Cancer biologist understand the biological processes underlying cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis. They identify how tumors evolve and respond to or resist treatment and study how cellular processes such as cancer cell metabolism, stress responses, and cell cycle regulation contribute to cancer development and progression. Cancer is a genetic disease. It is caused by changes in genes that control the way cells grow and multiply. Cancer-related genetic changes can occur because, random mistakes in our DNA happen as our cells multiply, our DNA is altered by carcinogens in our environment, such as chemicals in tobacco smoke, UV rays from the sun, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) they were inherited from one of our parents. Researchers continue to study how genetic changes affect cancer development. This knowledge has led to improvements in cancer care, including early detection, risk reduction, the use of targeted therapy, and survival. Researchers have learned a lot about how cancer genes work. But many cancers are not linked with a specific gene. Cancer likely involves multiple gene mutations. Moreover, some evidence suggests that genes interact with their environment. This further complicates our understanding of the role genes play in cancer.

 

Session 02Cancer and Aging

There is a bidirectional relationship between cancer and aging. Aging is a risk factor for adult cancers, and emerging evidence suggests that cancers and some cancer treatments might accelerate aging. Aging and cancer share many hallmarks such as genomic instability, although cancer cells often benefit from mutations, other cells accumulate damaging mutations resulting in physiological decline and aging. Growing evidence demonstrates that individuals with cancer age faster, so their biological age appears to be older than their chronological age. Cancer survivors, in general, appear to develop age-related diseases and phenotypes sooner than members of the general population. This is likely because damage to normal tissues from cancer therapies diminishes physiological reserve, accelerates processes typically associated with ageing or both. Cancer treatment can help people of any age and age should never be the only factor considered in creating a treatment plan. But it is also known that cancer treatment may be more challenging and complicated for older adults. For example, older adults are more likely to experience serious side effects from treatment.

Session 03Cancer Organoids

Tumor organoids have been proposed as a model system for precision medicine. Tumor organoids are 3D cell culture systems that are generated in vitro from surgically resected patients tumors. A cancer or tumor organoid, also known as a cancer surrogate. The ability of tumor organoids to retain characteristics of the original tumor makes them unique for cancer research on an individual patient level. Hence, the idea to use tumor organoids for clinical decision making and optimize patient outcome is tempting. The cancer organotypic models help in understanding of cancer heterogeneity and its implications for personalized medicine. These advancements are, in part, attributed to the ability of organoid models to stably preserve genetic, proteomic, morphological and pharmacotypic features of the tumor in vitro, while also offering unprecedented genomic and environmental manipulation.

Session 04Cancer stem cells

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cancer cells (found within tumors or hematological cancers) that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells, specifically the ability to give rise to all cell types found in a particular cancer sample. CSCs may generate tumors through the stem cell processes of self-renewal and differentiation into multiple cell types. Such cells are hypothesized to persist in tumors as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumors. Therefore, development of specific therapies targeted at CSCs holds hope for improvement of survival and quality of life of cancer patients, especially for patients with metastatic disease. Cancer stem cells were first identified in leukemia. The researchers discovered the first cancer stem cells in solid tumors, finding them in breast cancer. Since then, cancer stem cells have been identified in brain, colon, head and neck, pancreas and central nervous system tumors. Stem cells are defined by their ability to differentiate along multiple lineages and their immortality. Cancer is believed to be a stem cell disease in which a small population of cancer stem cells maintains the larger tumor. Cancer may ultimately be eradicated by targeting only the cancer stem cell.

Session 05CRISPR in Cancer Therapeutics

CRISPR” (pronounced “crisper”) stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which are the hallmark of a bacterial defense system that forms the basis for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology. Genetic mutations that switch on oncogenes (gain-of-function mutations) stimulate carcinogenesis, and the expression of these oncogenes is specific to cancer cells. Knocking out these genes via CRISPR-Cas9 is an appealing therapeutic target because it will prevent cancer growth. Most of the designed strategies have been applied to detect cancer biomarkers in human serum or cell lysis. CRISPR-Cas9 can be employed to promptly engineer oncolytic viruses and immune cells for cancer therapeutic applications. More notably, it has the ability to precisely edit genes not only in model organisms but also in human being that permits its use in therapeutic analysis. CRISPR is becoming a mainstream methodology used in many cancers’ biology studies because of the convenience of the technique. CRISPR is also completely customizable. It can edit virtually any segment of DNA within the 3 billion letters of the human genome, and it’s more precise than other DNA-editing tools. And gene editing with CRISPR is a lot faster. With older methods. Another plus is that CRISPR can be easily scaled up. Researchers can use hundreds of guide RNAs to manipulate and evaluate hundreds or thousands of genes at a time. Cancer researchers often use this type of experiment to pick out genes that might make good drug targets. Taken together, the CRISPR/Cas system possesses great potential for cancer biomarker detection.

Session 06Computational Cancer Research, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

Early cancer diagnosis and artificial intelligence (AI) are rapidly evolving fields with important areas of convergence. The application of AI in cancer practice includes providing clinical decision support for cancer diagnosis and screening, processing medical data for cancer detection or characterization of patient prognosis, and optimizing care delivery and clinical operations by increasing system capacity and allocating resources. AI identifies potential new drugs within a short time period at an affordable cost. Drug testing can simulate and predict the effectiveness of cancer therapies leading to better results in in vivo experiments, which in turn would accelerate clinical research. Scientists have developed AI tools to aid screening tests for several kinds of cancer, including breast cancer. AI-based computer programs have been used to help doctors interpret mammograms for more than 20 years, but research in this area is quickly evolving. AI can quickly understand how cancer cells become resistant to anticancer drugs, which can help improve drug development and adjust drug use. AI improves the identification of tumor neoantigens and the efficacy of tumor immunotherapy. It can help radiologists map target areas or automatically plan radiation treatment programs. AI can manage the use of chemotherapy drugs and predict the tolerance of chemotherapy drugs, so as to optimize the chemotherapy regimen.

Session 07Oncogenomics

Oncogenomics is a sub-field of genomics that characterizes cancer-associated genes. It focuses on genomic, epigenomic and transcript alterations in cancer. A mutated (changed) form of a type of gene called a proto-oncogene, which is involved in normal cell growth and division. When a proto-oncogene is changed so that too many copies are made or it becomes more active than normal, it is called an oncogene. Cancer is a genetic disease caused by accumulation of DNA mutations and epigenetic alterations leading to unrestrained cell proliferation and neoplasm formation. The goal of oncogenomics is to identify new oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes that may provide new insights into cancer diagnosis, predicting clinical outcome of cancers and new targets for cancer therapies. Besides understanding the underlying genetic mechanisms that initiate or drive cancer progression, oncogenomics targets personalized cancer treatment. Cancer develops due to DNA mutations and epigenetic alterations that accumulate randomly. Identifying and targeting the mutations in an individual patient may lead to increased treatment efficacy. Access to whole cancer genome sequencing is important to cancer genome research because: Mutations are the immediate cause of cancer and define the tumor phenotype. Access to cancerous and normal tissue samples from the same patient and the fact that most cancer mutations represent somatic events, allow the identification of cancer-specific mutations. Cancer mutations are cumulative and sometimes are related to disease stage. Metastasis and drug resistance are distinguishable.

Session 08Infection, Inflammation and Cancer types

Infection is one of the most common complications of cancer and cancer treatment. This is because cancer and cancer treatments can weaken the immune system for a period of time. More recently, infections with certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites have been recognized as risk factors for several types of cancer in humans. People with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy are more likely to get infections. The immune system helps our body protect itself from getting an infection. Cancer and chemotherapy can damage this system by reducing the number of infection-fighting white blood cells. Infections in cancer patients are often treated according to the germ that is causing them. Anti-infectives are drugs used to prevent or treat infections, for example: Antibiotics (sometimes more than one at the same time) are used to treat bacterial infections. Anti-fungal drugs are used to treat fungal infections. Inflammation is considered a hallmark of cancer. There is evidence that inflammation may both promote and constrain tumors. Inflammation can become chronic if the cause of the inflammation persists or certain control mechanisms in charge of shutting down the process fail. When these inflammatory responses become chronic, cell mutation and proliferation can result, often creating an environment that is conducive to the development of cancer. Cancers are named for the area in which they begin and the type of cell they are made of, even if they spread to other parts of the body. There are also several clinical terms used for certain general types of cancer. Carcinoma, this type of cancer affects organs and glands, such as the lungs, breasts, pancreas and skin. Sarcoma, this cancer affects soft or connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, bone, cartilage or blood vessels. Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow, which creates blood cells. Melanoma and Lymphoma, are cancers of the immune system.

Session 09Cancer and Public Health

Cancer is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs. The latter process is called metastasizing and is a major cause of death from cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancer are the most common among women. The cancer burden continues to grow globally, exerting tremendous physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals, families, communities and health systems. Many health systems in low- and middle-income countries are least prepared to manage this burden, and large numbers of cancer patients globally do not have access to timely quality diagnosis and treatment. The reality of cancer lies somewhere between the public health ideal of perfect prevention and the depressing stochastics of bad luck. Current research suggests that at least half of cancer cases estimates range from 30 percent to upward of 70 percent could be prevented by applying what we already know. The other half of cancer cases including the elusive and often deadly types often caught too late to make a difference, such as ovarian, pancreatic, and brain tumors could be detected and potentially even prevented far earlier if basic science and promising diagnostic technologies received the sustained government support, they need

Session 10Carcinogenic Exposures and Global Cancer Prevention

Cancer is caused by changes to certain genes that alter the way our cells function. Some of these genetic changes occur naturally when DNA is replicated during the process of cell division. But others are the result of environmental exposures that damage DNA. Carcinogens may occur naturally in the environment (such as ultraviolet rays in sunlight and certain viruses) or may be generated by humans (such as automobile exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke). Most carcinogens work by interacting with a cell's DNA to produce mutations. Exposure to some chemicals and hazardous substances can increase the risk of cancer. There are three types of chemicals, known as carcinogens, that can cause cancer: Procarcinogens, which cause cancer due to being changed during metabolism. Cocarcinogens, which cause cancer by acting with another chemical. Direct acting carcinogens, which can cause cancer as is. People can avoid some cancer-causing exposures, such as tobacco smoke and the sun’s rays. But other ones are harder to avoid, especially if they are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, or the materials we use to do our jobs. Scientists are studying which exposures may cause or contribute to the development of cancer. Understanding which exposures are harmful, and where they are found, may help people to avoid them. Between 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.  WHO works with Member States to strengthen national policies and programmes to raise awareness and, reduce exposure to cancer risk factors, and also ensure that people are provided with the information and support they need to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Session 11Tumor Immunology and Immunotheraphy

Tumor immunology refers to the relationship between immune function and tumor cells, which is crucial for our understanding of the mechanisms of both tumor rejection and tumor progression. The immunological mechanisms involved in cancer growth are highly complex, including tissue-resident and blood-derived cells. The human immune system mounts natural endogenous response to highly immunogenic tumor cells through a series of steps, including the presenting of tumor antigens to T cells via antigen-presenting cells (APCs), priming and activation of T cells in the lymph nodes, trafficking and infiltration of T cells into tumor beds, recognition of cancer cells by T cells, development of antigen-specific effector and memory T cells, and humoral immunity, allowing effector T cells and other endogenous immune cells, as well as tumor-effective antibodies to tumor to eliminate cancer cells. Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer. The immune system helps the body fight infections and other diseases. It is made up of white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system. Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy. Biological therapy is a type of treatment that uses substances made from living organisms to treat cancer.

session 12Imaging and RadioOncology

Radiation oncologists work closely with medical oncologists, surgeons and other doctors to coordinate the most appropriate care for you. Radiation therapy uses carefully targeted and regulated doses of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA. Brachytherapy involves radioactive material that is implanted in the body. Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is used to treat an exposed tumor during cancer surgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is not actually surgery. Radiotherapy can be used, alone or in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy), to try to cure cancers. For people with incurable cancers, radiotherapy is a very effective way of controlling symptoms. Imaging tests are used for cancer in many ways: They are sometimes used to look for cancer in its early stages (when it's small and has not spread), and a person has no symptoms. This may be called early detection or cancer screening tests. They can be used to look for a mass or lump (tumor) if a person has symptoms. CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are both used to diagnose and stage cancer. Many people do not know the difference between the two methods or why one might be selected over the other.

session 13Cancer Disparities

Cancer Disparities is an adverse difference in cancer measures such as the number of new cases, the number of deaths, cancer–related health complications, survivorship, and quality of life after cancer treatment, screening rates, and stage at diagnosis that exist among certain population groups. These differences in the burden of exist between racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic groups, geography, and more. Many complex and interrelated factors that contribute to cancer health disparities, making it difficult to isolate and study the relative contribution of each. While socioeconomic and health care access factors are primary drivers of cancer disparities, research also suggests that hereditary risk and genetic determinants for specific cancer subtypes may explain a portion of disparities.

Reducing Cancer Disparities Through Partnerships

Reduce preventable cancers.

Make sure all people get the right screening at the right time.

Support cancer survivors in a way that allows them to live longer, healthier lives.

Session 14Tumor invasion and metastasis

Tumor invasion, the capacity for tumor cells to disrupt the basement membrane and penetrate underlying stroma, is the distinguishing feature of malignancy. Invasion requires major changes in cell morphology and phenotype, in particular for epithelial cells that represent the precursors to over 90% of human cancers.  bloodstream and seed in distant organs. For cancer, invasion is the direct extension and penetration by cancer cells into neighboring tissues. It is generally distinguished from metastasis, which is the spread of cancer cells through the circulatory system or the lymphatic system to more distant locations. Once tumor cells acquire the ability to penetrate the surrounding tissues, the process of invasion is instigated as these motile cells pass through the basement membrane and extracellular matrix, progressing to intravasation as they penetrate the lymphatic or vascular circulation. The most common sites for cancers to metastasize include the lungs, liver, bones and brain. Other places include the adrenal gland, lymph nodes, skin and other organs. Sometimes, a metastasis will be found without a known primary cancer (point of origin).

Session 15Precision cancer medicine and therapeutics

A form of medicine that uses information about a person's own genes or proteins to prevent, diagnose, or treat disease. In cancer, precision medicine uses specific information about a person's tumor to help make a diagnosis, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. In cancer, precision medicine involves testing DNA from patients' tumors to identify the mutations or other genetic changes that drive their cancer. Physicians then may be able to select a treatment for a particular patient's cancer that best matches, or targets, the culprit mutations in the tumor DNA.

Cancer treatment is the use of surgery, radiation, medications and other therapies to cure a cancer, shrink a cancer or stop the progression of a cancer. Many cancer treatments exist. The goal of cancer treatment is to achieve a cure for cancer, allowing to live a normal life span. This may or may not be possible, depending on specific situation. If a cure isn't possible, the treatments may be used to shrink the cancer or slow the growth of cancer to allow to live symptom free for as long as possible. Cancer treatments may be used as Primary treatment, Adjuvant treatment, Palliative treatment. Many cancer treatments are available. The treatment options will depend on several factors, such as the type and stage of cancer, general health, and preferences. Cancer treatment options include Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Bone marrow transplant, Immunotherapy, Hormone therapy, Targeted drug therapy, Cryoablation, Radiofrequency ablation and Clinical trials.

Session 16COVID-19 and Cancer

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel (new) coronavirus that causes a respiratory disease named coronavirus disease 2019, which is abbrivated COVID-19. As SARS-CoV-2 spreads, the virus can change, which results in new variants. Some variants may spread more easily than others or be more resistant to vaccines or treatments. The people suffering from cancer, have a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Other factors that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 include having a weakened immune system, older age, and other medical conditions. People with blood cancers may be at higher risk of prolonged infection and death from COVID-19 than people with solid tumors.That is because patients with blood cancers often have abnormal or depleted levels of immune cells that produce antibodies against viruses. eople with certain cancers and those who are receiving treatment that suppresses the immune system may have a  weaker response to COVD-19 vaccines than people whose immune systems are not compromised.

Session 17Pediatric Oncology

Children's cancers are not always treated like adult cancers. Pediatric oncology is a medical specialty focused on the care of children with cancer. It's important to know that this expertise exists and that there are effective treatments for many childhood cancers. Pediatric oncologists examine patients, order and analyze tests, and administer treatments. After pediatric oncologists give a cancer diagnosis, they manage the treatments they prescribe. Pediatric hematologist/oncologists specialize in caring for children who have blood diseases and cancer.They are responsible for treating all malignant conditions among children like leukemia, bone cancers, Wilms tumor, brain and spinal cord tumors among several others. With timely, appropriate and complete treatment, majority of children with cancer get cured and can lead their lives peacefully. Pediatric oncologists’ study and train in both pediatrics and oncology. The types of cancers that develop in children are often different from cancers that develop in adults. Because of this, pediatric oncologists specialize in treating infants, children, young adults and teenagers who have cancer.

Session 18Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer is when cancer cells have spread from the breast to other parts of the body. It’s classified as advanced (stage 4) breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on what area of the body the cells have invaded. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer includes medications to slow the growth and improve symptoms. Metastatic breast cancer can occur at different points: De novo metastatic breast cancer and Distant recurrence. Some people are at higher risk for metastatic cancer after finishing cancer treatment. The risk depends on various features of the cancer including Tumor characteristics (type of cancer cells), Stage at your first diagnosis and Treatment(s) received. Most often, metastatic cancer occurs because treatment didn’t destroy all the cancer cells. Sometimes, a few cells remain dormant, or are hidden and undetectable. Then, for reasons providers don’t fully understand, the cells begin to grow and spread again. De novo metastatic breast cancer means that at the time of initial diagnosis, the breast cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. In the absence of treatment, the cancer spreads. There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. Once the cancer cells have spread to another distant area of the body, it’s impossible to get rid of them all. However, the right treatment plan can help extend your life and improve its quality. Metastatic breast cancer treatment aims to shrink tumors, slow their growth and improve your symptoms. The main treatment for metastatic breast cancer is systemic therapy. These therapies treat the entire body.