Pharmacology and Chemotherapy

Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
Academyc year when helding the course: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

To fully understand the topics addressed in the present course, students must possess basic notions of cellular biology, human physiology and general and molecular pharmacology. Students lacking this background knowledge will undoubtedly find that the workload requested for this course is greater than the allotted 6 credits, but this should not reflect on their evaluation of the course.

The learning outcomes will be assessed by an oral interview (about 30 minutes in duration) on topics selected from the syllabus. Top marks (greater than 28/30), and possibly honors, will only be awarded to students that have actively participated in discussions during the course and who can demonstrate the ability to identify and discuss the general principles underlying drug action and the major therapeutic approaches, and to work out the connections between the various topics of the course.

Voto Finale

The primary goal of the course is to provide the students with an updated knowledge of the major classes of drugs in current clinical use and their respective mechanisms of action, at a molecular, cellular and systemic level. The students will understand how modulating the autonomic nervous system may impact the function of the major organ systems (cardiovascular system and kidney, respiratory and gastro-intestinal apparatuses); they will learn how to control the activity of inflammatory and immune mediators and how to address the molecular mechanisms underlying the most prevalent diseases affecting the metabolism of sugars and lipids; they will learn how to restore the homeostasis between pro-and anti-coagulant factors; and they will become familiar with the principles of antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer chemotherapy, and with the major classes of chemotherapeutic drugs.

1. Drugs acting on the peripheral and autonomous nervous systems;
2. Cardiovascular pharmacology
3. Pharmacology of inflammation and immunity
4. Special topics
5. Metabolic diseases
6. Principles of Chemotherapy
7. Chemotherapy of Infectious Diseases
8. Cancer Chemotherapy

1. Drugs acting on the peripheral and autonomous nervous systems;
a. Neuromuscular blockers
b. Parasympathomimetics and parasympatholytics
c. Sympathomimetics and sympatholytics
2. Cardiovascular pharmacology
a. Pharmacology of vascular tone and volume regulation
b. Pharmacology of cardiac rhythm
c. Pharmacology of cardiac contractility
3. Pharmacology of inflammation and immunity
a. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS)
b. corticosteroids
c. biological agents
d. immune suppressants
4. Special topics
a. Airway inflammation and asthma
b. Gastric acid secretion
c. Pharmacology of hemostasis and thrombosis
d. Oral contraception
5. Metabolic diseases
a. Diabetes
b. Dyslipidemias
c. Obesity
6. Principles of Chemotherapy
7. Chemotherapy of Infectious Diseases
a. Antibacterial agents
c. Antiviral agents
8. Chemotherapy of Cancer
a. Antimetabolites
b. Microtubule-targeting agents
c. Topoisomerase inhibitors
d. DNA-interacting agents

For each topic, the relevant experimental models in current pre-clinical use will also be illustrated and discussed.

D.E. Golan, E.J. Armstrong, A.W. Armstrong: Principles of Pharmacology - The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy. 4th
Edition, 2016, Wolters Kluwer.
F. Clementi, G. Fumagalli: Farmacologia Generale & Molecolare, 4th edition, 2018, EDRA.

The visual materials presented during the lectures can be found on the Moodle platform, compatibly with the laws on copyright.

The course consists of ex cathedra lectures, but aims at creating a direct interaction between students and teacher, in order to stimulate the students' involvement in the course.
Interactive refresher session will be offered for the benefit of students from other Universities, who may have a vastly heterogeneous background.
Lectures and the accompanying visual materials are a necessary, but not sufficient, source of information for the students. Thus, while consistent attendance is recommended, students are also strongly encouraged to refer to the recommended textbooks.

Prof. Monti will receive the students by appointment in her office in Busto Arsizio (Via L. Manara, 7); appointments should be scheduled by e-mail ( During the course, she will also be available for 30 minutes after each lecture.