Module Catalogue 2024/25

ONC8022 : Cancer Molecular Biology & Targeted Therapies (E-learning)

ONC8022 : Cancer Molecular Biology & Targeted Therapies (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor John Lunec
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Kelly Coffey
  • Owning School: Pharmacy
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



The aim of this module is to provide knowledge and understanding of the cellular changes that result from damage or alteration of cells at a molecular level. By increasing our understanding of the molecular changes found in cancerous cells we are able to firstly gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms through which cancer is generated and secondly how this leads to the design of targeted therapies that exploit these molecular changes and gain therapeutic benefit in the clinic.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will cover the following topics:
• Biochemical and molecular basis of cancer
• The multistage nature of cancer, including the roles of the environment and somatic mutation
• The known genetic mechanisms involved in hereditary cancer predispositions and sporadic cancers
• The roles of specific genes involved in driving the development and progression of cancer by mutational activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumour suppressor genes
• Molecular targeted approaches to personalized therapies for different cancers, plus predictive and prognostic biomarkers

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:
• Outline the current state of knowledge about the biochemical and molecular basis of cancer
• Describe the multistage nature of cancer and be able to discuss factors which influence this process
• Understand the difference between germline and somatic mutation
• Distinguish among the known genetic mechanisms leading to cancer, including cancer predisposition syndromes
• Discuss contemporary approaches to the development of targeted therapies, including specific molecular alterations in cancer as therapeutic targets and prognostic factors to guide treatment.
• Explain and critically appraise targeted cancer treatment approaches

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:
•Undertake a systematic literature and genetic database sourcing of information on the molecular basis of cancer and targeted therapies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:0040:00Independent assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading127:0084:00Online content
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00Including systematic literature and genetic database sourcing
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity61:006:00eJournal
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study123:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion122:0024:00Via discussion board
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Through a series of online tutorials as well as private study (including directed reading, and literature and database sourcing of information), students will gain detailed knowledge and understanding of basic cancer biology and cancer genetics.

Furthermore, students will be encouraged to participate in collaborative learning via the Discussion Board. Personal development will be encouraged through the use of reflective journal postings, shared only with the module leader. As the students proceed through the module, they will complete a number of interactive activities and informative tests that will help to consolidate their understanding of the curriculum.

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

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination2M50Recorded powerpoint presentation (max 15 slides, max 10 minute presentation). Students must achieve a mark of 50 or above in this assessment in order to pass the module overall.
Computer assessment2M50150 minute online MCQs (Including extended matching and ordering multiple answer). Students must achieve a mark of 50 or above in this assessment in order to pass the module overall.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MMCQ tests
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The MCQ assessment reviews the students’ achievement of knowledge learning outcomes and consolidates knowledge acquired throughout the module. This assessment is held online and each test is time limited with forced completion once the test is initiated.

The recorded PowerPoint presentation will allow students to synthesise and present data in a way that reflects on the impact of developments in the molecular biology of cancer in their working roles, and demonstrate that learning outcomes of acquired knowledge and understanding have been met. The information and sources used to produce the presentations will show that the skills outcome has been met.

In order to pass this module, students are required to achieve an overall pass mark of 50 or above for both the PowerPoint presentation and the online MCQs (150 minutes) in the module as well as the module overall. If any resit is undertaken, the overall module mark will be capped at 50.

Formative MCQ assessments and worksheet assignments are used throughout the course of the Module.

Assignments are posted on the Discussion Board to encourage students to share resources and promote communal learning.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.