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BMS3012 : Cancer Biology and Therapy

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Steven Clifford
  • Lecturer: Professor Julie Irving, Dr Christopher Bacon, Professor Craig Robson, Dr Luke Gaughan, Dr Simon Bomken, Dr Daniel Williamson, Dr Ian Cowell, Professor James Allan
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


i)       To inform students about the genetic and molecular basis of cancer.
ii)       To examine the mechanisms of action of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes.
iii)       To understand the role of cell cycle disruption in cancer development.
iv)       To understand the processes of metastasis and angiogenesis.
v)       To understand the roles of cell signaling pathways in cancer.
vi)       To understand the roles that chromosomal instability, DNA damage and repair play in carcinogenesis.
vii)       To understand the basic mechanisms of apoptosis and their relevance to cancer.
viii)       To introduce current technologies used in cancer detection, diagnostics and molecular pathology.
ix)       To discuss how experimental models and imaging techniques are being applied to advance our understanding of cancer.
x)       To understand the basis of and problems associated with cancer treatments.
xi)       To provide students with an understanding of cancer stem cells.

In Summary:
Cancer is one of the major causes of mortality. This module provides a background to the molecular basis of cancer and its therapy. The various causes, cellular and genetic processes central to the development of cancer will be discussed, alongside how this understanding is being exploited for disease detection, diagnosis and therapy.

Outline Of Syllabus

- An introduction to the molecular basis of cancer
- Oncogenes
- Tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) I: Identification
- Tumour suppressor genes II: Mechanisms of action
- Metastases and Angiogenesis
- Cell signaling in cancer
- Viruses and Cancer
- Carcinogenesis and apoptosis
- DNA repair and cancer predisposition syndromes
- Genetic instability and cancer
- Cancer treatments and drug resistance
- Targeted therapies & drug development strategies
- Treatment-related late effects
- The Pathology of Cancer
- Molecular studies linking genomic arrays, diagnostics and pathology in cancer detection
- Systems biology, bioinformatic and next-generation approaches to understanding cancer biology
- Cancer stem cells
- Application of experimental models and imaging in cancer
- Leukaemia and its therapy
- Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00In Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Tutorial - in person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1175:00175:00Writing up lecture notes, revision and general reading.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Assessment lecture - in person
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials will provide students with key information. Tutorials will encourage increased understanding of the material through discussion. Private study will allow students to extend their knowledge through reading of journal articles and other recommended references.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Invigilated exam 2 out of 4 essays
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
BGM3024The Molecular Basis of Cancer2N/A
BGM3065Biochemistry of Cancer and Chronic Diseases2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M30Extended essay - 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment provides evidence of knowledge and understanding of the topics.

The open-book essay supports the students’ development of literature-based research, written communication and presentation skills, supplements the main areas of teaching delivered, and helps prepare them for the 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.

Reading Lists