Understanding Cancer Metastasis 

The mission of The Johns Hopkins University is to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for life-long learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Over 500,000 people in the United States and over 8 million people worldwide are dying from cancer every year. As people live longer, the incidence of cancer is rising worldwide, and the disease is expected to strike over 20 million people annually by 2030.

Everyone has been or will be touched by cancer in some way during their lifetime. Thanks to years of dedication and commitment to research we’ve made enormous advances in the prevention and treatment of cancer, But there is still a lot of work to be done.
In this course, physicians and scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine explain how cancer spreads or metastasizes. We’ll describe the major theories of metastasis and then describe the biology behind the steps in metastasis. The course also describes the major organs targeted by metastasis and describes how metastases harm the patient.

Syllabus

Week 1
1 hour to complete
History and Overview of Metastasis
In this first module, we’ll concentrate on the history and overview of metastasis and give you a flavor of how cancer is defined as well as some of the history surrounding how we began to understand metastasis.

5 videos (Total 18 min)
1 hour to complete
Primary Tumor Growth and Neoangiogenesis
In this module, we’ll focus on uncontrolled cell division, which is a defining property of cancer, as well as mutation and neoangiogenesis and their roles in tumor formation. We’ll also take a look at a primary tumor microenvironment and its component cell types.

5 videos (Total 36 min)
WEEK
2
1 hour to complete
EMT / Invasion / Intravasation
During this module, we’ll turn our attention to the next steps after the initial primary tumor formation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition of cancer cells, and local tumor invasion and intravasation into blood or lymph vessels.

4 videos (Total 18 min)
1 hour to complete
Survival in the Circulation and Extravasation
We’ll now take a close look at cancer survival within the circulation, the role of the circulatory system in metastasis, the genetic determinants of metastatic potential, signaling mechanisms, chemokines, the dock and lock hypothesis, and extravasation.

6 videos (Total 31 min)
WEEK
3
1 hour to complete
Dormancy and Secondary Tumor Growth
In this module, we’ll focus on dormancy and secondary tumor growth and how they contribute to the lethality of cancer.

6 videos (Total 31 min)

Kenneth J. Pienta, M.D., Johns Hopkins University
Kenneth J. Pienta, M.D.

The Donald S. Coffey Professor of Urology

Johns Hopkins University

Sarah Amend, PHD cancer researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Pienta at the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Sarah Amend

Prostate Cancer Researcher

Johns Hopkins University

Kenneth Valkenburg
Kenneth Valkenburg

Prostate Cancer Researcher

Johns Hopkins University

Jelani Zarif
Jelani Zarif

Prostate Cancer Researcher

Instructor, Johns Hopkins University

Haley Axelrod
Haley Axelrod

Prostate Cancer Researcher

Haley is a graduate student in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Learn More or Enroll Now

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash