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Course content

Our MRes Experimental Cancer Medicine master's course will give nurses, doctors and clinical researchers the skills needed to work in early phase clinical studies.

You will learn how to master experimental cancer through a combination of traditional teaching and hands-on learning, spending a year as a member of the Experimental Cancer Medicine Team at The Christie while also taking four structured taught units.

The taught units will see you learn the details of designing and delivering Phase 1 clinical studies, understanding the pre-clinical data required before a clinical programme can commence, and how to optimise early clinical studies to provide evidence for progressing a promising drug into Phase II/III clinical testing.

Alongside the taught elements, you will be allocated to one or more clinical trials that are being conducted by The Christie experimental cancer medicine team. You will have a named trainer and be exposed to tasks required in the setup, delivery, interpretation and audit of a clinical study.

Nursing and physician students will be expected to participate in patient care, including new and follow-on patient clinics, treatment and care-giving episodes with patients.

For clinical trials coordinators, no direct patient contact is envisaged and duties will involve clinical trial setup, protocol amendments, database setup, data entry, costing and billing for clinical research.

You will be able to choose two aspects of your direct clinical trial research experience to write up for your two research projects in a dissertation format. This will give you the skills and knowledge required to critically report medical, scientific and clinically related sciences for peer review.

Aims

The primary purpose of the MRes in Experimental Cancer Medicine is to provide you with the opportunity to work within a premier UK Phase 1 cancer clinical trials unit and, through a mix of taught and experiential learning, master the discipline of Experimental Cancer Medicine.

Special features

Extensive practical experience

You will spend most of your time gaining hands-on experience within The Christie's Experimental Cancer Medicine Team.

Additional course information

Meet the course team

Dr Natalie Cook is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Experimental Cancer Medicine at the University and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Christie. She completed a PhD at Cambridge, investigating translational therapeutics and biomarker assay design in pancreatic cancer.

Professor Hughes is Chair of Experimental Cancer Medicine at the University and Strategic Director of the Experimental Cancer Medicine team at The Christie. He is a member of the research strategy group for Manchester Cancer Research Centre. He serves on the Biomarker evaluation review panel for CRUK grant applications.

Professor Hughes was previously Global Vice-President for early clinical development at AstraZeneca, overseeing around 100 Phase 0/1/2 clinical studies. He was previously Global Vice-President for early phase clinical oncology, having been involved in over 200 early phase clinical studies.

Dr Matthew Krebs is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Experimental Cancer Medicine at the University and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Christie.

He has a PhD in circulating biomarkers and postdoctoral experience in single cell and ctDNA molecular profiling. He is Principal Investigator on a portfolio of phase 1 clinical trials and has research interests in clinical development of novel drugs for lung cancer and integration of biomarkers with experimental drug development.

Teaching and learning

Our course is structured around a 2:1 split between clinical-based research projects and taught elements respectively.

Taught course units will predominantly use lectures and workshops.

For the research projects, teaching and learning will take place through one-to-one mentoring from a member of the Experimental Cancer Medicine team.

The clinical and academic experience of contributors to this course will provide you with an exceptional teaching and learning experience.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed through oral presentations, single best answer exams, written reports and dissertation.

For each research project, you will write a dissertation of 10,000 to 15,000 words. Examples of suitable practical projects include the following.

Research proposal

  • Compilation of a research proposal to research council/charity
  • Writing a protocol and trial costings for sponsor
  • Research and write a successful expression of interest selected by grant funder for full development

Publication-based/dissertation by publication

  • Writing a clinical study report
  • Authoring a peer-review journal review/original article

Service development/professional report/ report based dissertation

  • Public health report/outbreak report/health needs assessment/health impact assessment
  • Proposal for service development/organisational change
  • Audit/evaluate service delivery/policy
  • Implement recommended change from audit report

Adapted systematic review (qualitative data)

  • Compiling the platform of scientific evidence for a new drug indication from literature
  • Review of alternative research methodologies from literature

Full systematic review that includes data collection (quantitative data)

  • Referral patterns for Phase 1 patients

Qualitative or quantitative empirical research

  • Design, conduct, analyse and report an experiment

Qualitative secondary data analysis/analysis of existing quantitative data

  • Compilation, mining and analysis of existing clinical data sets

Quantitative secondary data analysis/analysis of existing qualitative data/theoretical study/narrative review

  • Policy analysis or discourse analysis/content analysis
  • A critical review of policy using framework analysis

Facilities

Teaching will take place within The Christie NHS Foundation Trust , Withington.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

Career opportunities

This course is relevant to physician, nursing and clinical research students who are considering a career in Phase 1 clinical studies.

The course provides a theoretical and experiential learning experience and offers a foundation for roles within other experimental cancer medicine centres within the UK and EU, as well as careers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, clinical trials management and medicine.

The MRes is ideal for high-calibre graduates and professionals wishing to undertake directly channelled research training in the clinical and medical oncology field.


Visit the Experimental Cancer Medicine (MRes) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

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