MSc(Res) Translational Oncology course structure information

The MSc(Res) Translational Oncology provides an innovative and progressive programme with teaching delivered by leading research scientists and clinicians including regular ‘Keynote Lectures’ by international clinical researchers on the topic of ‘bench to bedside’, in addition to the main modules.

You'll be allocated a personal tutor at the beginning of the course, and regular meetings are scheduled throughout the year. Detailed feedback will be given to you by module leads after each assessment.

To be considered for the award of the MSc(Res) degree, you must pass all modules. Each module is assessed individually via two assignments.

All taught modules are worth 15 credits

Cellular & Molecular Basis of Cancer

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.

Cancer Epidemology

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 essay which will look to confirm understanding of core concepts and critical awareness of cancer epidemiology.

Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

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.

Tumour Microenvironment

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.

Cancer Technologies and Clinical Research

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 a 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 - Introduction to Bioinformatics: Mark Dunning & Michelle Lawson

This option will introduce students both conceptually and practically to the possibility and challenges in bioinformatics.  Bioinformatics covers a range of methodologies to manage and interpret very highly dimensional data, for example from genomics, microarray, pretomics or metabolomics, all of which are widely used in Oncology. The course will provide a taught section on bioinformatics, a detailed series of workshops showcasing how RNASeq data-analysis workflows are undertaken and an assessed mini-project in which students gain practical experience of analysing and interpreting real-life data sets. 

Literature Review

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.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 15 June 2022

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