SIIK16003U The Immune Defence and Cancer

Volume 2024/2025

Msc in Immunology and Inflammation


The course covers cancer as a biological phenomenon and a disease, the immunological mechanisms - in particular chronic inflammation - involved in development of cancer as well as anti-cancer immune recognition and its significance, biologically and clinically. The course also touches upon tumorigenesis and tumor cell biology, with an emphasis on the tumor micro-environment and the role of and impact on cells of the immune system. The course will provide insight into tumor antigens recognized by the immune system, monitoring of anti-cancer immune responses, conventional cancer therapies and immune therapy of cancer, as well as escape mechanisms of cancer cells from immunological recognition. Moreover, the program deals with animal models in cancer immunotherapy research and translation of experimental data to the clinic.

It is the aim that the student will acquire a conceptual comprehension of the field allowing critical review of research papers, and contributions to research projects in the field. Moreover, the student will be capable of having a professional dialogue with doctors, researchers in academia and the pharma industry.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Describe the extrinsic and intrinsic immunological mechanisms, involved with tumorigenesis including how environment and lifestyle influence cancer risk
  • Explain the interplay between cancer cells and cells in the tumor stroma, including cells of the immune system
  • Explain and discuss the basis of spontaneous immunological recognition of cancer cells, and the potential clinical relevance
  • Explain the characteristics of different classes of tumor antigens, and the application of these in anti-cancer immune therapies
  • Explain the mechanisms of action for therapeutic vaccination against cancer
  • Discuss the use of animal models in immunological cancer research
  • Explain potential mode of action for check point blockade inhibitors
  • Explain and discuss cellular therapies in cancer
  • Summarize and discuss cancer cell escape from immunological recognition



  • Propose relevant immunological studies aimed at clarifying chronic inflammation, life style, environmental stress as key tumorigenic factors
  • Hypothesize experimental approaches that could be taken to gain further insight into the interplay between cancer cells and cells of the immune system
  • Design animal studies that could help clarify the mode of action of check point inhibitors and various cellular therapies in cancer immunotherapy
  • Suggest new strategies for synergistic combination of conventional radiation- and/or chemo-therapy with immunotherapy



  • Will be able to critically analyze and discuss clinical and experimental data in the field of cancer immunotherapy
  • Will conceptually be able to develop and initiate small research projects within experimental cancer immunology
  • Can contribute to interdisciplinary projects involving basic research, clinical research, biomarker and drug development within cancer immunology and immunotherapy

Original papers and reviews.

Participated and passed previous course in Basic Immunology or similar competencies are recommended.
Teaching and study methods: Lectures, journal club, student oral presentation of scientific papers, group discussions and case studies.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Class Instruction
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 160,5
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Total
  • 206,0
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Type of assessment details
The student will draw a question which will be discussed - no preparation time before the oral exam
Exam registration requirements


Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiners
Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student shall be able to:


  • Describe the extrinsic and intrinsic immunological mechanisms, involved with tumorigenesis including how environment and lifestyle influence cancer risk