GENERAL AND MOLECULAR PHARMACOLOGY

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOTECHNOLOGY
Academic year when starting the degree: 
2017/2018
Year: 
2
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
2018/2019
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Credits: 
6
Period: 
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
48
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)
Requirements: 

To fully understand the topics addressed in the present course, students should possess basic notions of cellular biology and general physiology.

Final Examination: 
Orale

Approximately halfway through the course, students will undergo an in itinere evaluation (about 60 minutes in duration) based on 10 multiple choice quizzes on topics addressed during the lectures (students shall explain their selected answer). Each correct answer will earn 1 point, provided it is adequately explained; a wrong answer, as well as a correct answer without an adequate explanation, will earn 0 points. The resulting score will amount to one third of the final grade *; the remaining two thirds of the final grade will be earned by an oral interview (about 30 minutes in duration), involving:
(a) one question assessing the knowledge and comprehension of the molecular and cellular aspects of drug action (0- 6 points);
(b) one question assessing the knowledge and comprehension if the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenetics, of the differences between biological and conventional drugs, of the prospective applications of gene- and cell-based therapies, and of the issues involved in the development of new drugs (0-6 points);
(c) one exercise based on the interpretation of dose (or concentration)/response curves or binding isotherms, or on a pharmacokinetic problem, to assess the students' ability to apply theoretical concepts to the analysis of quantitative data (0-6 points).

The remaining 2 points, and possible honors, will be awarded based on the students' ability to connect, communicate and discuss the topics addressed by the questions and exercise described above.

* In case of a negative outcome of the in itinere evaluation, students can refuse it; in this case the oral interview will include two additional questions, one for type (a) and one for type (b); each question will earn a maximum of 5 points.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

The course will provide the students with the theoretical principles and the basic tools required to
1. understand the interactions between drugs and their molecular targets and predict their effects on cells, tissues and on the whole organism (principles of pharmacodynamics);
2. understand the modifications that drugs undergo once they enter the organism (principles of pharmacokinetics) and the possible interactions with other drugs;
3. understand the genetic bases for the variability in drug responses (principles of pharmacogenetics).
The course will also focus on biologic drugs, emphasizing the differences with regards to conventional agents, and on gene-based and cell-based therapies.
Finally, the different phases of the pre-clinical and clinical development of new drugs will be described, to provide the student with a picture of the pathway and pitfalls of drug transfer from bench to bedside.

1. Introduction to Pharmacology: general concepts and historical background
2. Drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME); drug interactions
3. Principles of pharmacogenetics
4. Qualitative and quantitative aspects of drug-receptor interactions
5. Molecular mechanisms of drug action (drug targets, classes of receptors, ion channels, enzmes and membrane transporters).
6. Pharmacological modulation of cell funcyion: second messengers and post-translational modifications
7. Nucleic acids as drug targets and as pharmacological agents; gene therapy
8. Biological agents and biosimilars
9. Cell-based therapies

Students will find the visual materials presented during the lectures on the Moodle platform, compatibly with the laws on copyright.
The following reference textbooks are recommended:
F. Clementi, G. Fumagalli: Farmacologia Generale & Molecolare, 5th edition, 2018, EDRA.
D.E. Golan, E.J. Armstrong, A.W. Armstrong: Principles of Pharmacology - The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy. 4th Edition, 2016, Wolters Kluwer.

Convenzionale

The course consists of ex cathedra lectures, but aims at creating a direct interaction between students and teacher, in order to stimulate the students' interest concerning the topics of the course. Interactive practical sessions will help the students to address problems pertaining to pharmacokinetics and drug receptor interactions.
Lectures and the accompanying visual materials are the major source of information for the student. Thus consistent attendance is recommended; students are also encouraged to further investigate aspects of special interest, by referring to the recommended textbooks and/or by critically searching the Internet.

Prof. Monti will receive the students on Mondays between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. in her office in Busto Arsizio (Via L. Manara, 7); appointments should be scheduled by e-mail (elena.monti@uninsubria.it). During the course, she will also be available for 30 minutes after each lecture.