Mini Medical School: A 20/20 View of Cancer

Event Date: 
January 27, 2020


2-650 Moos Tower
East Bank
Twin Cities Campus

Mini Medical School offers a unique perspective into the health sciences at the University of Minnesota. Once a week for six weeks, students – ranging in age from high school students to retirees – with a shared interest in health embark on a journey examining the scientific foundations of health and disease. Presented using common language for ease of understanding complex topics, your guides are internationally renowned University of Minnesota experts who are shaping the way health care is delivered locally and globally.

In addition to learning from our world-renowned faculty in the classroom, students have the opportunity to get supplemental information relevant to the session topic from exhibitors. A 20/20 View of Cancer is designed to give students insight into research centric key cancer concepts and on cancer in Minnesota.

Jan. 27, 2020
christopher a pennell

Key Concepts in Cancer and Cancer Research

Christopher Pennell, PhD

Associate Director, Community Engagement and Education Masonic Cancer Center
Associate Professor
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

  • Cancer is an umbrella term that refers to hundreds of diseases.
  • Cancers are characterized by uncontrolled cell growth and spread (into local or distant tissues).
  • Cancers arise from the corruption or misuse of genetic information (encoded by DNA).
  • We get cancer because of bad luck, old age, and life-style choices.
  • The mission of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota is to reduce the burden of cancer on all Minnesotans.
Schwertfeger Kaylee

The Anatomy of a Tumor

Kaylee Schwertfeger, PhD

American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant
Associate Professor

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

  • Solid tumors are made up of many different cell types, including tumor cells and various types of non-tumor cells.
  • The term “tumor microenvironment” refers to the immediate environment within and surrounding a tumor that includes non-tumor cells and additional factors that provide structural support to the tumor.
  • Interactions between tumor cells and their “microenvironment” are critical for tumors to grow and metastasize to distant sites.
  • The tumor microenvironment can impact the ability of cancer therapies to effectively eliminate tumor cells.
  • Developing therapies that effectively target the tumor microenvironment may enhance the efficacy of cancer therapies.


Masonic Cancer Center Community Engagement and Education Team

Mini Medical School: A 20/20 View of Cancer
January 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 2
5 - 8:30 PM