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Course Description

Jar of methotrexate, one of the first chemotherapeutic drugs

This course focuses on how cancer is diagnosed and treated, emphasizing the problems that arise when treating cancers as an organ-based, rather than cell-based disease. We will discuss the current diagnostic techniques and treatments and their strengths and limitations, and look forward to how breakthroughs in DNA sequencing technology can provide us with new information to design more specific cancer drugs for better treatments in the future. After seeing the more conventional ways to treat cancer, we will take a critical look at alternative cancer therapies, and spend some time discussing how, and why, cancer occupies such a prominent place in our society and how our understanding of cancer shapes public policy for the future.

This course is intended for high school science instructors as part of the Teaching the Great Diseases program


This is an online course that will not meet on campus. Most course activities and interactions will occur asynchronously and online through Tufts Canvas, the university's learning management system. You can take this course from anywhere, as long as you have a reliable internet connection (broadband highly recommended).

Online courses are held to the same academic standards as campus-based courses and students can expect high levels of interaction with faculty and classmates. Online courses at Tufts are not self-paced, however they offer much more flexibility for students. Typically, course content is organized in a weekly structure, so students will be expected to login and participate regularly. However students can generally set their own schedule within each week as long as assignments and activities are completed on time.

Affiliated With:

  • School of Medicine - Public Health & Professional Degrees