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MMB8007 : Cancer Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Felicity May
  • Lecturer: Professor Gareth Veal, Dr Gordon Strathdee, Dr Tobias Menne, Dr Lisa Russell, Dr Nicola Cresti, Dr Dina Tiniakos
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims are to:

•       develop a thorough awareness of clinical and scientific aspects of cancer as a disease
• ensure knowledge of molecular mechanisms that underlie specific aspects of tumour progression such as angionesis and metastasis
•       introduce clinico-pathological concepts of disease onset and progression with focus on major types of human cancer
•       increase understanding of current therapeutic options and how their benefit is evaluated
•       explore key signal transduction pathways active in major human cancers that have been targeted therapeutically
•       consider how agents that augment DNA damage exert therapeutic efficacy
•       research strategies for the development of novel biotherapies
• report how novel drugs are introduced into clinical practice.


The Cancer Studies Module is designed to expand and develop the understanding and knowledge acquired by students during their undergraduate studies. The module is suitable for students with a background in biological or medical sciences, medicine or dentistry. This systematic and integrated course is delivered by clinicians and scientists with appropriate expertise.

The Cancer Studies Module encompasses clinical and pathological aspects of cancer, underlying molecular mechanisms that can establish and promote cancer, current treatment options and how research is translated into novel treatment for patients. This module covers an area of major clinical import and aims to give students a broad systematic understanding of clinical and pathological aspects of the disease, its underlying molecular causes and its clinical management. Teaching will be themed around three major human cancers: breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and to a lesser extent leukaemia. The module aims to equip M level students with an insight into current research in cancer biology and how research discoveries are translated into the development of novel clinical therapies.

Outline Of Syllabus

The cancer studies module will cover:

      •       general terminology of cancer classification
      •       screening programmes and clinical diagnosis
      •       genetic and sporadic incidence
      •       clinical management: a surgeons perspective
      •       the underlying pathology of cancer
      •       molecular aspects of angiogenesis and metastasis
      •       hormone-dependency of human cancer
      •       signal transduction pathways that drive tumour progression
      •       current chemotherapeutic options
      •       pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic monitoring of chemotherapy
      •       identification of novel therapeutic targets
      •       development of novel drugs
      •       clinical management: an oncologists perspective
      •       introduction of novel drugs into the clinic.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00Non-synchronous online: released at staggered intervals throughout the module
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00Present in person (PIP) lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Development Proposal
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Revision for examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture20:301:00Seminars : Present in person: demonstration
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery51:005:00Present in person (PIP) surgery sessions held in lecture theatre
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study177:0077:00Preparing notes from lecture, background reading, research and private study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture material will provide the students with specific knowledge from which to develop their private study. Together with the assignment these lecture materials will encourage the students to reflect both individually and in small groups on current research and clinical management of cancer. Students will practice critical appraisal, innovative thinking and presentation skills (all key skills outcomes). All of these activities relate directly to the learning outcomes above.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A75Twenty four hour take home, online open book examination. Choice of 1 from 3 questions. Maximum word limit: 2000 words.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M25Proposal for drug development (Word limit 1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The twenty four hour open book written paper, tests the students’ knowledge base, comprehension and ability to discuss the subject knowledge critically and the level of their understanding of a particular example in the context of the subject.

The written presentation tests the student’s ability to assess a clinical need, research and appraise the current literature and make a financial justification for their proposal (interrogative and communication skills).

Reading Lists