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Unit information: Cancer Mechanisms and Therapeutics in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Cancer Mechanisms and Therapeutics
Unit code PANM33004
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Roberts
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)

3 level 6/H lecture units and Research Skills unit.

Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Unit Information

This unit covers cellular and molecular changes that result in common cancers such as breast and colon including genetics of colorectal (FAP and HNPCC) and breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2). Importance of tumour microenvironment, inflammation and NFkB in carcinogenesis. DNA repair pathways, genomic stability and breast cancer will be covered. Regulation of the cell cycle by the tumour suppressor genes, TGFbeta, Rb, p53, and why loss of function represents the most common event in human cancer. Normal apoptosis pathways, deregulation of apoptotic signalling in carcinogenesis and its role in the development of drug resistance. This unit will also include a brief review of the epidemiology of cancer and current approaches for both cancer prevention (NSAIDs) and the exploitation of targets, described above, for novel chemopreventive and therapeutic approaches. Data handling/essay writing tutorial. Lectures will be held in weeks 13-16.


the aims are to increase our understanding of how cancer develop and in particular which key genes and growth signalling pathways become defective and lead to the development of common adult sporadic and hereditary cancers. A further aim is to show how knowledge of these defective signalling pathways can lead to novel measures to prevent cancer and new treatments for the early detection and cure of cancer.

Your learning on this unit

Knowledge and understanding of which key genes and signalling pathways become deregulated during multistage carcinogenesis and give rise to major common adult cancers such as breast and bowel cancer. Knowledge and understanding of how the identification of deregulated signalling pathways and tumours environment (whether inherited or acquired) can lead to the development of new chemopreventive and therapeutic approaches for cancer.

Knowledge of the scientific literature pertaining to cancer mechanisms and therapeutics and an ability to evaluate this literature critically.

How you will learn

Lectures, Data Handling Session

Independent study: Students are expected to study the recommended literature.

How you will be assessed

Exam to include 2 essays, one essay to be chosen from each section containing three questions.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PANM33004).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.