Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology

Module code: BS3003

Module co-ordinator: Professor Andrew Fry

In this module you will study the impact of cancer in today’s society, the molecular basis of human cancer, and the experimental approaches used in cancer research - as well as possible cancer treatments of the future. We will look at the main features that distinguish malignant cells from normal cells, and at the mechanisms that regulate the proliferation and survival of normal cells including cell signalling pathways, cell cycle control and apoptosis. We will explore how mutations in oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes contribute to the malignant phenotype, and the pathological processes of cancer cell metastasis and tumour angiogenesis.

Topics covered

  • Module introduction and cancer statistics
  • Introduction to the hallmarks of cancer
  • Oncogenes and growth control pathways
  • TSGs and multistage tumorigenesis
  • Cell cycle control and cancer
  • Apoptosis and cancer
  • Tumour metastasis and angiogenesis
  • Cancer therapeutics


  • 30 one-hour lectures
  • 7 one-hour tutorials


  • Exam, 3 hours (70%)
  • Essay, 3,000 words (20%)
  • Tutorial worksheets (10%)