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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL3215 Cancer Biology

20 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Prof. Richard Bayliss

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

A general level of competence and understanding of molecular and cellular biology.

This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOL3211Advanced Topics for Biological Sciences 3
BMSC3233Advanced Topics in Pharmacology II
BMSC3234Advanced Topics in Neuroscience II
BMSC3236Advanced Topics in Medical Sciences II
MICR3212Advanced Topics in Microbiology 3

Module replaces

BIOC3900 Cancer Biology, 10 credits

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

A comprehensive treatment of human cancer from the molecular basis of cancer through the alterations in cells and tissues in cancers to current therapies for a range of human cancers.


To provide an up to date and comprehensive account of the nature and processes of human cancers as well as current and novel therapies for cancer.

The origins and development of human cancers will be presented from a molecular and cell biology perspective.
Therapeutic approaches to cancer will be approached from the development of targeted drug therapies, immunotherapies and gene therapies.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:
- understand research papers in the field of cancer biology;
- appreciate recent and future developments in this area;
- develop students' skills in written and oral presentation of material pertaining to the above.


This module will address:
- the main features of cancers and cancer cells and their relationship to disease; classification of cancers and implications for diagnosis and therapies;
- the common hallmarks of cancer, together with genes and proteins implicated in its control and their alteration/mutation/modulation in cancer cells;
- the differences between 'oncogenes' and 'tumour suppressor genes' and how these genes were identified;
- the variety of functions of oncogene and tumour suppressor gene products, including components of signal transduction pathways, transcription factors and proteins involved in DNA damage repair, the concept of checkpoints in the cell cycle and how these processes are subverted in cancer cells;
- how to read the primary literature of cancer research papers;
- the role of genes, gene mutations and gene expression a range of common haematological and solid cancers;
- develop concepts of cancer therapy by understanding, for example, gene therapy, immunotherapy and drug treatment;
- recent developments in cancer drug development.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours173.00
Total Contact hours27.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

75 hours lecture study (3 hours per lecture)
18 hours seminar
80 hours preparation for exam

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Formative feedback from seminar work (1 x seminar).
- Lectures are used to deliver content, context and cutting edge aspects of cancer biology.
- Seminar is used to develop and consolidate understanding, analyse research papers and apply principles of cancer biology.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentOral presentation on a research paper20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment24 hr 80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

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: 28/04/2023 14:47:26


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