Module 1 - Cellular & Molecular Basis of Cancer

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Student Feedback

"I thoroughly enjoyed this module and feel the way that it was organized/delivered was also brilliant."

"This module gave a very good overview of tumour biology."

The module will deliver a contemporary analysis of cancer molecular biology, with emphasis on cellular components mutated or dysfunctional in cancer. This will include the cancer hallmarks, cell communication, cell cycle and checkpoints, genomics/epigenomics, cancer syndromes and molecular therapies. We will examine how dysregulation of signalling contributes to cancer and how targeted/personalised approaches will transform therapy.

Assessment will be through a referenced written seen exam and a journal club presentation and will look to confirm understanding of core concepts and critical awareness of cancer biology.

Module worth 15 credits
Module code OCP601

Module 2 - Cancer Epidemology

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Student Feedback

"This module gave a different perspective into oncology than I was used to and broadened my thinking."

"I particularly enjoyed learning new aspects of statistical analysis and data handling, which will be important for my further research."

This module will cover the principles underlying Cancer Epidemiology and generate a critical understanding of the distribution patterns of cancer, predisposition to cancer, prediction of susceptibility and current research. We will examine measures of disease burden, impact of cancer from a public health perspective, genetic and environmental predisposition, biomarkers in risk prediction, prognostication and tailoring of treatment, understanding descriptive and analytical methods in cancer research, research methods, ethics and research governance.

Assessment will be through a referenced written seen exam and an oral presentation which will look to confirm understanding of core concepts and critical awareness of cancer epidemiology.

Module worth 15 credits
Module code OCP602

Module 3 - Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

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Student Feedback

"The opportunity to meet patients and hear first-hand their experiences was an amazing, life-changing experience."

"Really enjoyed the clinical aspect of this module and the opportunity to learn from clinicians who are treating patients on a day-to-day basis."

The module will evaluate the presentation and treatment of cancer from a number of perspectives. We will examine modern oncology practices, such as multi-disciplinary team working, genetic screening in diagnosis, randomised clinical trials, and possible future approaches to tumour ablation, and particular attention will be paid to the diagnosis and treatment of the main cancers. Students will be given the novel opportunity to look at clinical cancer research and therapy through the eyes of survivors of the disease.

Assessment will be through a referenced written seen exam and a blog post, which will look to confirm critical understanding of cancer diagnosis and treatment practices.

Module worth 15 credits
Module code OCP603

Module 4 - Tumour Microenvironment

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Student Feedback

"This module makes you view cancer as a complex entity, and has greatly broadened my mind."

"I thought it was really good having different lecturers to give their expertise on a subject."

This module aims to demonstrate the importance of the modified tumour microenvironment and to relate it to understanding mechanisms of tumour growth, metastasis and drug development. We will examine how hypoxia, tumour angiogenesis, immunology, inflammation, tumour-stroma interactions, extracellular matrix remodelling, mechanisms of metastasis and cancer stem cells affect tumour growth and drug resistance, and how this knowledge can be exploited for development of novel cancer therapies.

Assessment will be through a referenced written seen exam and a poster presentation which will look to assess critical awareness and understanding of the role of the tumour microenvironment.

Module worth 15 credits
Module code OCP604

Module 5 - Cancer Technologies and Clinical Research

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Student Feedback

"The practical content of the Home Office Course was well delivered and very engaging and having done it will improve my employability."

"The Cancer Systems Biology Course was really interesting and let us investigate something completely different."

The aim of this module is to develop a critical understanding of mainstream and developing technologies currently used in pre-clinical and clinical cancer research. Classical tumour biology, proteomic and in vivo methodologies will be explored, in addition to biomarker/drug discovery, pre-clinical imaging and patient cancer trials. Advantages and limitations of each experimental approach will be discussed and how these may lead to identification and validation of novel cancer targets and drug treatments or the refinement of established cancer therapies. The core module consists of lectures, tutorials and group work, which will be assessed by written assignment, followed by an option choice of either the Home Office Licence Induction course or a Cancer Systems Biology course.

Option 1 - Home Office Licence Induction Course: Biological and Veterinary Services

This will introduce the principles, legislation and practical approaches to in vivo experimentation. The course will assess specific knowledge related to regulated in vivo experimentation by a multiple choice examination. Specific procedural elements will be assessed by practical examination to demonstrate an individuals’ ability. Students must reach a level which will, in the future, allow application for a Home Office personal licence (PIL) to undertake regulated procedures, although this is NOT one of the outcomes of the course.

Option 2 - The Cancer Systems Biology Course: Dr Bernard Corfe

This will appraise bioinformatics resources and commonly used modelling software to allow discussion of relevant systems in the context of cancer pathways. The course evaluation will take the form of a practical mini-project which will assess the ability of the student to use a combination of on-line bioinformatics resources and systems biology approaches to model the impact of drugs on the activity of specific cancer pathways.

Module worth 15 credits
Module code OCP605

Module 6 - Literature Review

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Student Feedback

"This module gave me a chance to get to grips in great detail with a specific area of the literature."

"It was a great opportunity for self-study and improving time-management skills."

This module aims to develop abilities in information retrieval from appropriate sources, reference management, synthesis and critical analysis of published literature. Students will work on a title related to their research project. Submissions will be formatted as a review paper according to author guidelines for a chosen journal. Students discuss titles of interest with relevant supervisors before making their choice and will receive workshop training in information literacy and supervisor tutoring in the development of their review.

Module worth 15 credits
Module code OCP606

Module 7 - Research Project

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Student Feedback

"I liked discussing and designing experiments with my supervisor and felt really supported with decisions I made."

"I very much enjoyed the research project because it allowed us to actually apply the knowledge we've learned."

The aim of the module is to provide the opportunity to learn and apply research methods to test a specific scientific hypothesis with an emphasis on translation. A list of projects will be made available and students will be asked to select their top choices. Having been assigned a project of their choice, students will carry out a 25 week research project. Students will be expected to join in with the departmental seminars, research group meetings, journal clubs and supervisor meetings, to learn and experience the role of a scientific researcher, complementing the laboratory experience.

Assessment will be through an oral presentation, a written dissertation and a mini viva. Students will also be assessed on their conduct and professional behaviour by their supervisors.

Module worth 90 credits
Module code OCP607