Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Menu Share this content
Menu Search the University of Manchester siteSearch
Search type

Alternatively, use our A–Z index

MSc Experimental Medicine (Cancer)
MRes Experimental Medicine (Cancer)
This course will enable you to work within a leading Phase 1 cancer clinical trials unit.

MRes Experimental Medicine (Cancer) / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Assembling a translational medicine strategy for an anti-cancer drug

Unit code MEDN66222
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Summer semester
Offered by Division of Cancer Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


Assembling a translational medicine strategy for an anti-cancer drug is a 15 credit, interactive blended learning unit which will give you a comprehensive introduction to key information and skills required to develop a translational medicine plan to inform the choice of drug schedule, disease type, mono/combination treatment, predictive and pharmacodynamics markers of activity.

The unit is a blended combination of lectures, workshops and on-line material.

Part A (Assembling a translational medicine strategy for an anticancer drug) is an introduction to the five foundational translational medicine questions

-choice of schedule (posology)

-demonstration of pharmacodynamics activity

-prioritisation of disease/tumour type

-monotherapy or combination

-identifying patients likely to respond

Part B (Pharmaceutical Translational Medicine: Putting it all together) is designed to case simulate three critical translational medicine choices drug sponsors need to address

-Should the drug proceed to human clinical trials

-Which centres should take part in the clinical study

-What comprises the accompanying translational medicine plan


The purpose of Part A is to provide a foundation and appreciation of what has to be considered in planning and designing the translational medicine plan for a new candidate drug. Students will be provided a framework to consider how to optimise the chances of success in the early clinical testing of a novel cancer drug. Despite having a potentially wonderful drug, testing it in the wrong cancer type, or at the wrong schedule or dose; or with the wrong combination of agent- could terminate a otherwise promising drug. Students will gain a foundation for considering what pre-clinical experiments can be done to inform on the optimal options for clinical testing.

The purpose of Part B is to provide real-life scenarios to the practice of translational medicine within the drug development environment. It will draw upon the formal teaching received in units 2 and 3. It will address three common, yet critical scenarios to ensure a successful transition of the drug into early clinical testing

·         Should the drug enter clinical testing?

·         What pre-clinical data will optimise the success of the early clinical plan?

·         Where should I conduct my first in man study?

Each day of the module will be dedicated to addressing each of these scenarios, through three full-day workshops


Learning outcomes

1.         Assembling a translational medicine strategy for an anticancer drug


To understand the five foundational translational medicine questions

To understand how pre-clinical experimentation can inform the preferred clinical trial to maximize success for a new anti-cancer drug

To understand the constraints to application of novel technologies into clinical testing- both from a cost and logistic perspective

To understand the strengths and weaknesses of potential pharmacodynamics biomarkers for the various hallmarks of cancer

To understand the body of evidence needed before a biomarker is “qualified” for use in clinical trials


 2.        Pharmaceutical Translational Medicine: Putting it all together


Understanding how various aspects of the pre-clinical package are weighted in the decision to take a new drug into human testing

Understanding of how to set a safe starting dose and dose escalation increments, and how to monitor for toxicity signals and set a safe stopping dose

To Understand how a translational medicine plan is constructed, costed and sequenced to inform decision making

To understand criteria used to audit clinical research facilities


Teaching and learning methods

A range of teaching, learning and assessments are utilised in order to assess the students’ knowledge, understanding, and developing intellectual and practical skills. Summative assessments include a variety of reports (e.g., strategies, plans, audits) literature reviews, critical appraisals/reviews of published work/government guidelines and presentation of different types of work.

The programme also places an emphasis on group work as this a vital skill for persons operating in a multi-disciplinary area such as experimental cancer medicine, and this is shown in the teaching methods and assignments.  Each experimental cancer medicine specific unit has different emphasis on the group work assessment based on the nature of the material being covered; how they are to apply the knowledge and the work they are to complete. 

Written assignments based on problem-solving work assess the students’ ability to gather information from a wide range of sources, evaluate and critically analyse information, make considered judgements about that information and synthesise material into logical and coherent pieces of work. Analytical assignments prepare students on practical skills gained from the course. All assignments also assess the ability of students to develop their knowledge and understanding of underpinning subjects, concepts and theories. 

On-going, formative assessment and feedback to students is a key feature of the learning materials for this programme. Students will be required to engage in a wide range of interactive exercises to enhance their learning and test their developing knowledge, understanding and skills via eLearning.  In addition, feedback on work is provided in the F2F workshops.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
through data intepretation and literature review
Group/team working
through delivering research projects to dissertation standards
through designing a plan for clinical research projects
taking ownership for defining, delivering, interpreting then communicating research
Project management
of two research projects- RP1 and RP2 at 60 credits each
Oral communication
by summative course assessments
Problem solving
through engagement with patients cancer disease
the fundamental basis of the year programme
Written communication
by summative course assessments
through awareness and engagement with life skills courses at Manchester library taught in module 2

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 83%
Oral assessment/presentation 17%

Feedback methods

The students will receive feedback on their work through Turnitin.

Student feedback is the central aspect of how the programmes are organised and developed. Feedback mechanisms include the following:

      I.        Student representation from each year of the programmes on the MRes in Experimental Cancer Medicine Programme Committee

    II.        Online feedback questionnaire on which students rate the quality of teaching in terms of delivery, handouts, presentation etc.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 50
Independent study hours
Independent study 100

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Louise Carter Unit coordinator

Return to course details