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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL5296M Treatment of Infectious Disease and Cancer

10 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Professor Eric Blair

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

A first degree in chemical or biological sciences

Module replaces

Derives from BIOL5248M Detection, Treatment and Prevention of Infection, with additional lectures from other level 5 modules that are to be dropped.

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will expose students to current and emerging approaches to treating human diseases caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi) and cancer. In particular, this module will describe the mode of action and use of therapeutic agents, discuss their successes and limitations, and explore the process by which novel therapeutics are identified and developed. Examples of therapeutic modalities that will be covered include chemotherapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy and RNA therapy.


The objectives are to provide:
- An overview of past, present and future antimicrobial and anticancer drugs
- A detailed description of their modes of action and selective toxicity of these drugs, and their success and limitations
- Insight into approaches and issues in therapeutic discovery/design
- A description of cutting-edge non-chemotherapeutic treatment modalities, including vaccination, gene/RNA therapy, immunotherapy – mechanisms of action, current status and future prospects

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Comprehensively describe existing and emerging modalities available for treating infectious diseases and cancer;
- Explain in depth the molecular mechanisms of action and selective toxicity of a range of important chemotherapeutic drugs and other therapeutic modalities;
- Discuss critically the limitations of current treatments and the strengths and weaknesses of different therapeutic approaches;
- Outline current approaches for discovery of novel therapeutic agents;
- Display an appreciation for the complexity of issues relating to the development and use of novel therapeutics.


Treatment of human diseases caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi) and cancer by current and emerging approaches, with a focus on describing the mechanistic rationale for chemotherapy, vaccination, gene/RNA therapy, and immunotherapy.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning31.334.00
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Private study will include reading associated with the lectures delivered, preparation for the group learning and tutorial sessions and work on the assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The two sequential assessed work elements in this module will allow monitoring of student progress.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportWritten report (2000 words) on Drug Discovery60.00
Oral PresentationPrepared and delivered in pairs40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 07/10/2021 15:32:09


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