To provide the student with an overview of oncology from basic tumour biology through drug design and clinical trials. An important theme will be how drug design is influenced by our understanding of tumour biology, and how drug design in turn influences and is influenced by clinical trial design and outcome, particularly with respect to the use of biomarkers. The module is central to the MSc Pharmaceutical Medicine and MSc Pharmaceutical Medicine with Clinical Pharmacology.
This module aims to develop:
- systematic understanding of the biology of tumor and the heterogeneous nature of cancer and the different treatments
- critical awareness of the design and conduct of clinical trials to meet the special needs of cancers and also enables the development of biomarkers
comprehensive understanding of the connection between basic tumour biology, drug design and clinical trials
Indicative content includes:
- Tumour biology: lectures on leading concepts of oncogenesis together with more disease specific topics including prostate cancer, gynaecological cancers, and leukaemia.
- Cancer treatment: a comprehensive review of existing and emerging cancer therapies including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
- Drug design: lectures on modern concepts in drug design, identification of novel therapeutic targets in cancer, rational design, screening libraries of compounds in the search for new drugs.
- Clinical trials: lectures on contemporary concepts and then specific examples that illustrate key points such as patient recruitment, surrogate endpoints and the use of biomarkers.
- Problem Based Learning: a one day PBL session. It will start with a problem based at the level of tumour biology and finding novel drug targets, and follow on to drug and biomarker design, a hypothetical Phase I trial, and finally a group discussion / debriefing.