Molecular Biology of Cancer VETSCI3009

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The course details the molecular biology of cancer as well as the biological hallmarks of cancer with a focus on animal cancers. The course will provide students with an understanding of how knowledge of the mechanisms of cancer biology underpins current and future approaches to cancer diagnosis and treatment.


Weekly lectures supplemented with practicals, tutorials and self-directed study.

Requirements of Entry

Students must have attained the minimum requirements for entry into level 3 of the Veterinary Biosciences [Hons]/MSci Programme as specified in the Veterinary Biosciences [Hons]/MSci Programme Supplementary Regulations.

Excluded Courses



In course assessment (60%):

Annotated bibliography (10%), Data Interpretation Question (20%), Essay (30%)

End of course assessment (40%): May comprise of a mix of MCQs, DIQs and SAQs.

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course aims to

■ provide a detailed understanding of the molecular and cellular events that drive cancer development and progression.

■ demonstrate how an understanding of these events underpins current and future approaches to cancer diagnosis and treatment.

■ encourage the development of skills relating to analysis, discussion and interpretation of research literature and data

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Describe tumour classification and nomenclature

■ Describe the hallmarks of cancer and mechanisms by which normal cells acquire cancer hallmarks

■ Discuss the generation and use of experimental animals in the study of cancer

■ Discuss the role of viruses in cancer development

■ Discuss the molecular basis of cancer diagnostics and therapeutic strategies

■ Critically discuss the current state of scientific knowledge of the molecular basis of cancer

■ Critically analyse research papers and experimental data

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.