Faculty of Medical Sciences Online Learning


ONC8019: Pharmacology of Chemotherapeutic Agents (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Nicola Curtin
  • Lecturer: Dr Jennifer Bonner
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module explores the concepts underlying the pharmacological principles that govern the use of drugs in the treatment of cancer. The students will gain a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of action and resistance that underlie antitumour effects and toxicities of the drugs to treat cancer.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module includes the following topics: 
•Hallmarks of cancer and targets of therapy
•Introduction to chemotherapy
•Principles of Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Anticancer drugs
•Alkylating agents and platinums
•Antimetabolites; nucleoside analogues
•Antimetabolites; antifolates
•Topoisomerase I and II poisons
•Hormonal therapies
•Antibody-based therapies
•Tyrosine kinase inhibitors
•Drug resistance

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
CategoryActivityNumberLengthStudent HoursComment
Guided Independent Study Assessment preparation and completion 3 10:00 30:00 N/A
Guided Independent Study Directed research and reading 12 6:00 72:00 Online content
Guided Independent Study Skills practice 1 2:00 2:00 Software
Guided Independent Study Reflective learning activity 22 2:00 44:00 eJournal and blogs
Guided Independent Study Independent study 13 4:00 52:00 Supplemental reading
Total       200:00  
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Through a series of online tutorials (including videos and recapped PowerPoint presentations) as well as private study (including directed reading), students will gain detailed knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of chemotherapy and pharmacology ; chemotherapeutic, hormonal and targeted treatments for cancer, according to their mechanisms of action; and principles and mechanisms of tumour resistance to drug treatment. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to participate in collaborative learning via blogs. Personal development will be encouraged through the use of reflective journal postings, shared only with the module leaders. As the students proceed through the module, they will complete a number of interactive activities that will help to consolidate their understanding of the curriculum. The data compiled will guide their summative assessments. 

This will facilitate the development of interpersonal and communication skills as well as team working and peer assessment skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

DescriptionLengthSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Oral Presentation 10 1 M 60 Recorded Power Point presentation (maximum 10 Minutes)
Other Assessment
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Computer assessment 1 M 30 Online MCQ (Max 1hr -30 questions)
Portfolio 1 M 10 Participation in collaborative e-learning activities throughout the module.
Formative Assessments
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetComment
Computer assessment 1 M Weekly MCQs for each topic
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The presentation will require students to demonstrate their understanding of a chosen example of a major classes of chemotherapeutic agents and discuss clinical use, toxicities and mechanisms of resistance. The presentation will assess the students' ability to synthesise data and present information succinctly and in a visual format. 
This will consolidate the students’ newly acquired knowledge across the whole range of the module as well as their ability to process information.

Multiple choice questions (formative) will help to promote reflection in students in order to identify areas of strength, weakness or misunderstanding. MCQs (summative) will probe specific points of understanding and knowledge of the students across the module. 

A participation grade is included to reflect the student's engagement with the collaborative activities included throughout this e-learning module.

Reading Lists