BMS5012 - Cancer biology and therapeutics - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Biomedical Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Renea Taylor


Dr Renea Taylor

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


BMS5001 and BMS5002


Must be enrolled in course M6003


The aim of this unit is to introduce and develop students' understanding of cancer biology, including the molecular mechanisms underpinning human cancers and targeted therapeutics used to treat patients with this disease.

Three main themes will be presented:

  1. Major hallmarks of cancer (including immunology, metabolism, and cell biology), ii) Genomic features of cancer (including tumour suppressors and oncogenes, molecular subtypes spanning genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic features),

    iii) Targeted therapies in human cancer including personalised medicine.

    Topics within these major themes will cover both basic research and clinical aspects.

    The practical component of this unit will present students with the opportunity to interact with leading researchers in the cancer biology field, explore the important scientific and clinical issues associated with cancer research, extend their knowledge of the scientific literature, and increase their knowledge of translational research, involving clinical application of scientific discoveries. This unit will provide the high-level knowledge base and understanding required to generate cutting-edge research questions and undertake enquiry directed to answering that research question.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Identify, evaluate and effectively communicate key concepts and results and their implications from high impact recent publications in the field of cancer biology and translational cancer research;
  2. Analyse, interpret and present data from a range of experiment types and discuss this in the context of current scientific literature.
  3. Review and critique scientific literature relevant to a specified scientific question to formulate a scientific hypothesis to underpin a research project in the field of cancer biology;
  4. Evaluate and integrate current knowledge on the genetic drivers of cancer to design trials to assess new cancer therapeutics;
  5. Review, evaluate and justify appropriate approaches for clinical trial design based on preclinical evidence.


  • 3 x Theme-specific worksheets (500 words each) (30% total)
  • Literature Review (2,500 words) (40%) (hurdle)
  • Design a clinical trial (1,500 words) (30%)

Workload requirements

Average: 4 staff-student contact hours + 2 hours directed learning per week on-campus. This covers 1 hour lecture, 3 hours workshop/practical time,2 hours small-group directed learning activities plus 6 hours of self-directed learning per week.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study