Programme Director

Professor Bob Brown


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Our increased understanding of cancer biology has led to improved prevention and diagnosis of cancer, as well as new treatments for patients. Cancer Frontiers will provide you with an introduction to the key hallmarks of cancer, within the context of normal development and cell differentiation. You will explore these concepts in relation to current cancer treatment and investigate how evidence-based medicine and new technologies can impact on understanding disease and patient management. New frontiers of surgical innovation and precision medicines, using molecularly targeted approaches, will be explored.

Cancer Frontiers focuses on the fundamentals of the cancer process and the skills required to undertake cancer research activities. During your research project you will build on the foundations of knowledge gained, interpreting research data and critically communicating conclusions within the context of the most recent advances in cancer research. 

Aims and Objectives

Cancer Frontiers will cover in detail the pathways involved in tumorigenesis, including signalling pathways, cell differentiation and stem cells. You will learn about carcinogenesis and the hallmarks of cancer, as well as cancer risk. Specifics of cell signalling and apoptosis, invasion and metastasis, cancer metabolism, cancer immunology, genomics, and epigenomics, as well as the role of  hormones in cancer will be discussed. You will also explore the manipulation of cancer cells in the laboratory and approaches to patient-orientated research methods. Challenges in early detection, diagnosis and therapy of cancer will be discussed. The preclinical and clinical use of cancer biomarkers, imaging, cytotoxic chemotherapy, molecularly targeted chemotherapy, viral therapy and drug resistance will be evaluated. You will also explore cancer clinical studies and the evolving landscape of cancer clinical trial design.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Recognise the hallmarks of cancer and the role these have in the development and progression of cancer.
  • Relate scientific understanding of mechanisms of tumorigenesis to drug targets and cancer treatment.
  • Explore how molecular profiling can help in the understanding of cellular transformation through the cancer journey and translation of this knowledge into improved patient management and precision medicines.
  • Discuss how evidence based medicine and new technologies can impact on medical and surgical oncology through clinical trials.
  • Critically appraise cancer research literature, synthesise current evidence and opinion, and identify knowledge gaps.
  • Organise, analyse and report laboratory and clinical data, justifying selection of the approaches used and conclusions reached.