Postgraduate Course: Precision Oncology II: Cancer Drug Discovery and Clinical Application (BIME11185)
|School||Deanery of Biomedical Sciences
||College||College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course will provide the clinical context to the learning in the earlier 4 core blocks. It will reinforce the importance of how molecular biology underpins the clinical development of a novel drug or biomarker. Students will study several novel classes of drugs from 'bench-to-bedside' including facets of drug development, preclinical and clinical assessment plus clinical applications. In addition, they will gain an understanding of modern clinical trial design and its challenges. This course aims to inspire the students with recent success stories from the university and partners, and equip them with skills in the application of molecular oncology and precision medicine.
The development, assessment (in preclinical model and clinical trials) and clinical application of novel agents is the ultimate goal of a 'bench-to-bedside' approach to molecular oncology and precision medicine. Students will therefore look at every stage of this process using recent examples of new drugs/biologics and 'in-development' approaches. Both success stories and failures will be used as examples to facilitate learning.
The course will begin by providing an insight into methodologies used to design drugs that act on a specific, known target, and how drug screens are designed and implemented. Given the presence of the phenotypic screening unit in Edinburgh, phenotypic screens will be a focus. The utility of pre-clinical evaluation and the pipelines from the laboratory to the clinic will also be covered using stories from local experts and collaborators. Students will be given an overview of phase 1 clinical trial design, which will draw on their teaching in statistics and provide further training regarding power calculations. There will also be discussions on how we assess a patients response to therapy.
Student Learning Experience
Students will learn from both research-scientists and academic and clinical healthcare professionals. The course is delivered online and is divided into five sessions, each lasting a week. Teaching sessions will be composed of written materials and video presentations, accompanied by guided reading elements (in the form of links to journal articles) as well as independent literature searches. There will also be video presentations or interviews with patients where possible.
Students will put their learning into practice by preparing a Dragons Den style pitch to pharma and developing their own mini clinical trial proposal, involving a drug or biomarker (or both) of their choice.
Formative peer and teacher-led feedback will be given throughout the course through the discussion boards, and summative assessment feedback will be provided at the end of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
||Block 5 (Sem 2) and beyond
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 15,
Online Activities 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||In-course assessment -100%
- Students present a dragons den style pitch to pharma of a new target, biomarker or drug. 30%.
- Discussion board 10%
- Students will write a mini-phase I clinical trial or evaluate a clinical trial proposal. 60%
||Formative assessment consists of discussions around novel targets, drugs or biomarkers to pitch to pharma. This is conducted in an open discussion forum for all students to contribute to and provides an opportunity to facilitate critical thinking and for students to understand the key expectation before submission.
Summative assessment consists of written submission (worth 60% of the total mark), and an online element worth 40. In both cases, comprehensive written feedback is provided individually with 15 working days of the assessment deadline. Students are expected to reflect on their feedback, to seek additional clarification if appropriate.
Any student can post questions about the assignment and a response will be posted on the discussion board by the course tutor within 3 working days.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles, theories and concepts behind modern drug development and clinical trial design.
- Develop an in depth understanding of the pathways by which early laboratory observations can progress to phase I clinical trials.
- Communicate, with peers from a range of audiences, regarding the critical evaluation of clinical trial development.
|Much of the focus of this course will be driven through student engagement. Resources will be provided as a starting point from which it is expected that students will begin to develop their own reading lists and share this information with others.|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||At the end of this course students will be able to;
- Demonstrate an in depth understanding of the pipelines of drug discovery from the laboratory to the clinic.
- Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the complexities of clinical trial design and assessment of patient response.
- Synthesise and communicate the scientific challenge of translating molecular cancer research to improved patient outcome.
We hope this final course of Year 1 will assimilate all the learning from the year to date and allow them to translate their learning from the laboratory to the clinic.
||This course will be taught entirely by distance learning, using the virtual learning environment of Learn as the delivery platform. Course materials are protected by a secure username and password. These access details are made available to registered users only.
|Keywords||Drug Discovery,Clinical Trial Design,Ethics,Biomarker discovery,drug response
|Course organiser||Dr Kathryn Ball
Tel: (0131) 777 3560
|Course secretary||Ms Deborah Walker
Tel: (0131 6)51 1513