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BGM3024 : The Molecular Basis of Cancer

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Craig Robson
  • Lecturer: Professor Steven Clifford, Dr Ian Cowell, Professor Julie Irving
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Through lectures and seminars this module aims to;
1. inform students about the genetic and molecular basis of cancer and its treatment.
2. introduce current technologies used in cancer detection, diagnostics and molecular pathology and allow students to explore how these techniques are being applied to advance our understanding of cancer.
3. facilitate an understanding of the problems associated with cancer treatments.

Outline Of Syllabus

• background to the biochemistry and molecular biology of cancer
• cancer as a multi-process genetic disease
• role of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes
• roles of failures in the DNA repair mechanisms in causing cancer
• factors that lead to metastasis
• experimental genetic models of tumour development
• methods of anticancer treatment and the problems of drug resistance

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Seminar.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Introduction to extended essay to support assessment preparation and completion.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study182:0082:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures effectively provide students with the necessary knowledge to further explore the current literature. The 1 hour session introducing students to the extended essay will provide them with tips and study skills as preparation for researching and writing the essay . The seminars focus on major topics covered in the lectures, providing in-depth knowledge of the topics and opportunities for students to discuss topic areas where they require additional information or clarification is required.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination602A80One essay from a choice of 2.
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
BMS3012Cancer Biology and Therapy2Exams to be scheduled at the same time. Shared lectures/topics will allow the same questions to be used by these 2 modules
BGM3065Biochemistry of Cancer and Chronic Diseases2Exams to be scheduled at the same time. Shared lectures/topics will allow the same questions to be used by these 2 modules
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M20Extended Essay (Max 1500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination primarily assesses students' knowledge and understanding.

The extended essay will provide students with the opportunity to undertake wider reading of a topic and learn how to structure and essay to address a specific question. The feedback will allow students to improve on their essay writing skills in preparation for the final examination.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists