Spring 2017 - MBB 446 D100

Cell Death and Cell Survival (3)

Class Number: 1554

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 7, 2017: Wed, Fri, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 322 and 331, with a minimum grade of C, or permission of the instructor.



An examination of various types of cell death and cell survival mechanisms and their relationship to disease with a focus on cancer and therapeutic strategies. Students who took MBB 440 with the same title may not take MBB 446 for credit


The balance between cell death and cell survival is important for normal development. Alterations in these processes can lead to human diseases including cancer. In this course, we will study various types of cell death and cell survival mechanisms and their relationships to disease with a focus on cancer. We will also investigate anti-cancer therapeutic strategies that target specific components of cell death and cell survival pathways.

Topics will include the following:  

  • Cancer basics
  • Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors
  • Cell growth
  • Cell survival mechanisms
  • Types of cell death: morphology and molecules
  • Autophagy: dual roles in cancer
  • Cell cycle and anti-cancer therapy
  • Targeted anti-cancer therapeutics  

In addition, we will explore recent selected special topics related to the discovery of mechanisms contributing to cancer cell survival.

These may include:  
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Epigenetic alterations
  • Personalized Oncogenomics
  • Cancer cell metabolism
  • Metastasis


  • Class exams (3x20%) 60%
  • Two short writing assignments 30%
  • Class participation 10%



This course will be based largely on primary literature and review articles.


The Biology of Cancer, 2nd Ed, Robert A. Weinberg, 2014, Garland Publishing (for background reading).
ISBN: 978-0-8153-4220-5

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • Students are advised to review the plagiarism tutorial found at
  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112 or e-mail:  csdo@sfu.ca)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html