Module Catalogue

ONC8000 : Cancer: Cell, Molecular Biology, and Genetics

  • Offered for Year: 2012/13
  • Module Leader(s): Professor John Lunec
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The main aim of this module, 'Cancer: Cell, Molecular Biology, and Genetics' (ONC8000), is to provide you with 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 we can design therapeutic strategies that exploit these molecular changes and gain therapeutic benefit in the clinic. The module aims to:

1.       Inform students about the biochemical and molecular basis of cancer;
2.       Inform students about the multistage nature of cancer, including the roles of the
environment and somatic mutation;
3.       Inform students about the known genetic mechanisms involved in hereditary cancer
predispositions and sporadic cancers;
4.       Introduce students to the roles of specific genes involved in the development and
progression of cancer; oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes;
5.       Discuss targeted approaches to therapies for different cancers.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module runs for 15 weeks and is split into 3 units, each of 5 weeks duration, including a ‘breather week’. The units are designed so that you can choose which of the 5 weeks is unassigned. Alternatively you may wish to push on through the module, but the spare week is to provide time for further work, assessments and catching up with outstanding assignments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Via discussion board
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study721:0072:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time201:0020:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The on-line text based materials will be designed around the module learning outcomes. A comprehensive understanding of basic cancer biology and cancer genetics are fundamental to successful achievement of module outcomes in subsequent modules.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1502A100Online MCQs
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

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.

Reading Lists