Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (32 hours)

In order to attend fruitfully the Class, the student should be in possession of the basic notions in Immunology.

Final Examination: 

The final exam consists of an oral test, three of four exam questions aimed at verifying the preparation and presentation skills of students. The final grade is evaluated by the mean of grades obtained at individual exam questions

Voto Finale

Currently a knowledge of Immunopathology is mandatory for the training of the biologist aiming at studying Biomedicine, the Course Immunology of cancer has been tailored for student who opt for the Oncology Curriculum. Immunology of cancer deals with the complex relationship between host immune response and the neoplastic disease; as a matter of fact recent advances in this field of research holds promise for fighting cancer. The principal goals of the course are a) to provide the student with a comprehensive knowledge of immunopathology and the underlying immune regulatory circuits. Moreover in the Immunopathology section it is included even a discussion of the complex relationship between immune system and microbiota. b) to provide the student with an updated view of the role of chronic inflammation and acquired immunity in cancer and of recent immunotherapy approaches to manage advanced neoplastic disease. After the Course the student should be endowed with a comprehensive knowledge of immunopathology and cancer immunology.

Immune regulatory circuits
-innate receptors, pathogen associated molecular patterns PAMP and PRR
-properties and functions of effector T cells
-conventional T helper cells, Th1, Th2 and Th17
-peripheral tolerance
-second and third signal in antigen presentation
-regulatory T cells and IL-2
-damage associated molecular patterns DAMPs and sterile inflammation
-M1 and M2, gatekeeper of tissue homeostasis
Hypersensitivity and allergy
-IgE mediated, type I
-type II, III, IV, an outline

-autoimmunity represents a breakdown or failure of the mechanisms of self- tolerance
-epidemiology of autoimmune disorders
-classification of autoimmune diseases
-pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmune disorders
-genetic and environmental basis of autoimmunity
-example of autoimmune diseases
-therapy of autoimmune diseases

Mucosal immunity and gut microbiota
-gut microbiota, general concepts
-functional anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract, a focus on immunity
-the gut microbiota and food antigens are somehow tolerated by the host immune system
-individual members of the microbiota produce relevant immunomodulatory effects on host immune system
-gut dysbiosis promoting illness inside and outside the gastrointestinal tract


Tumor antigens
-immunosourvelliance theory statements and previsions
-experimental data supporting the theory in the murine model
-the theory applied in human oncology
-tumor antigens (tumor-specific or tumor-associated)
-discovery of tumor antigens
-generation of acquired responses against the cancer
-cross-priming of tumor and viral antigens

Immunotherapy of cancer
-cancer immunotherapy, general principles
-cancer vaccines
-adoptive cell transfer (ACT)
-chimeric antigen receptors (CAR)
-immune checkpoints inhibitors
-CTLA-4 pathway in cancer immunotherapy
-PD-1 pathway in cancer immunotherapy
f) future prospects: biomarkers and combination therapies

Cancer cachexia
-cancer cachexia, clinical definition
-mechanisms of cancer cachexia
-approaches to the therapy of cancer cachexia

Immunopathology section:
Abbas, Lichtman, Pillai Cellular and Molecular Immunology Elsevier
Kuby Immunology W. H. Freeman and Company
Kenneth Murphy, Casey Weaver Janeway’s immunobiology Garland Sciences

Immunology of cancer section:
Robert Weinberg The biology of cancer Garland Sciences
Reviews or original papers on the subject and lecture’s files provided by the teacher on the e-learning platform


The course consists of lectures (32 hours, 4 CFU). In support to the section “Immunology of Cancer” the lecturer will discuss briefly some seminal papers (journal club)