The area of cancer immunotherapy considers how to use conventional therapies including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Whilst these treatment have served well and new drugs will continue to be designed, clinical trials over the last five years have shown that boosting the body’s immune system, whose main task is to deal with invading pathogens, can help our immune system to destroy tumour cells. Many of the new immunotherapies may be tested in combination with more conventional treatments or tested alone, but investigators and oncologists now believe immunotherapy, initially combined with pharmacological treatments, will soon provide curative therapies and certainly give many patients a new lease of life.
More about this course
Worldwide the incidence of cancer is increasing, and is expected to reach 22 million new cases per year by 2030. In addition to treatments such as radiotherapy and surgery, chemotherapy has a vital role to play in prolonging the lives of patients.
The aims of the Cancer Immunotherapy MSc are to:
-Provide an in-depth understanding of the molecular targets at which the different classes of anticancer drugs are aimed, and of how drug therapies are evolving
-Review the biology of cancer with respect to genetics, pathological considerations, and the molecular changes within cells which are associated with the progression of the disease
-Enhance intellectual and practical skills necessary for the collection, analysis, interpretation and understanding of scientific data
-Deliver a programme of advanced study to equip students for a future career in anti-cancer drug and immunotherapy development
-Cover new areas in immunotherapy (some of which may enhance existing pharmacological therapies including: History of immunotherapy and review of immune system; Monoclonal antibodies in cancer therapy and prevention; DNA vaccines against cancer; Adoptive T cell therapy; Dendritic cell vaccines; Antibodies that stimulate immunity; Adjuvant development for vaccines; Epigenetics and cancer: improving immunotherapy; Immuno-chemotherapy: integration of therapies; Exosomes and Microvesicles (EMVs) in cancer therapy and diagnosis; Dendritic cell vaccine development and Pox virus cancer vaccine vectors; Microbial causes of cancer and vaccination
Students will have access to highly qualified researchers and teachers in pharmacology and immunology, including those at the Cellular and Molecular Immunology Research Centre. Skills gained from research projects are therefore likely to be highly marketable in industry, academia and in the NHS. Students will be encouraged to join the British Society of Immunology and the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles.
Assessment is a combination of coursework, which includes tests and essays, the research project and its oral defence and examination.
The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.
Year 1 modules include:
-Advanced Immunology (core, 20 credits)
-Cancer Immunotherapy (core, 20 credits)
-Cancer Pharmacology (core, 20 credits)
-Cancer: Diagnosis and Therapy (core, 20 credits)
-Molecular Oncology (core, 20 credits)
-Research Project (core, 60 credits)
-Scientific Frameworks for Research (core, 20 credits)
After the course
Students will have many opportunities to work in industry. There are established industries working hard to develop cancer immunotherapies including Bristol-Myers Squibbs, MERCK, AstraZeneca and Roche. There are also an innumerate number of start-up companies appearing including Omnis Pharma, UNUM Therapeutics and Alpine Immune Sciences.
Students will also have ample opportunity for future postgraduate study either within the School of Human Sciences and the Cellular and Molecular Immunology Centre at the MPhil/PhD level or beyond, even with some of our research partners within the UK, Europe and beyond.