Molecular Basis of Cancer

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
09 September 2019


Requisites for this module
BS225 or BS238



Key module for


Module description

We will discuss general aspects of cancer biology (cancer statistics and risk factors, cancer classifications, origins and multistage nature of cancer). We will explore the hallmarks of cancer, which describe the biological capabilities acquired by cells during tumour development. They will include replicative immortality, genome instability, induction of angiogenesis and metastasis, immune response, inflammation and metabolic changes in cancer.

We will discuss cell cycle and apoptosis and their role in the maintenance of normal cell populations and in the emergence of cancer. The identification and isolation of oncogenes and tumour suppressors and the mechanism of action of their products will be analysed. The principles of some of the current approaches in cancer therapy will be discussed. Introduction to modern technologies, on-line information retrieval services and specific web sites used in cancer research will be given. The module is continuously updated so that recent advances in the molecular analysis of tumourigenesis are reflected in the content.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with current knowledge and understanding of cancer.

Module learning outcomes

To pass this Module, students will need to be able to:

1. Ddescribe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie eukaryotic cell multiplication, cell senescence and cell death, senescence, angiogenesis, including the alterations that are involved in the initiation of uncontrolled growth and tumourigenesis;
2. discuss the cellular mechanisms involved in the surveillance of genome integrity and tumour suppression and how this is integrated with the cell cycle;
3. discuss the transduction and integration of extracellular signals that regulate cell proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis;
4. discuss therapeutic approaches to treat cancer;
5. demonstrate competence in (a) the analysis and interpretation of data and (b) the collation, synthesis and communication of material in the form of essays.

Employability and transferable skills:

Analysis and interpretation of survival, proliferation and flow cytometry data
Self-directed reading, and interpretation of, the scientific literature

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures: 18 x 1hr Classes: 1 x 2hr for data analysis and interpretation Student managed learning: 130 hrs/module Total: 150 hrs


  • Hanahan, Douglas; Weinberg, Robert A. (2011-03) 'Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation', in Cell. vol. 144 (5) , pp.646-674

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
0% 100%


Coursework Exam
0% 100%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Greg Brooke, Dr Vladimir Teif, Dr Raj Thaker, Dr Metodi Metodiev
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 22 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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