The course covers both antibody and vaccine cancer therapies and explores the immunology of the tumour host interface.
In addition, you will learn about intellectual property and how to exploit scientific research in scientific writings, patents and in development of business plans applicable to the biotechnology industry. To gain practical experience in research, you will also carry out a research project in the field of tumour immunology.
You will take 120 credits worth of taught modules, and undertake a 60-credit research module.
Through the research project module, you will experience contemporary research methods by designing a research programme and performing experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem.
Immunity and the Immune System
This module provides an overview of the mechanisms and concepts underpinning the science of immunology and allergy.
Molecular Basis of Cancer
This series of lectures giving students an in-depth understanding of normal cell regulatory mechanisms and how these are altered during the carcinogenic process.
This module includes:
- DNA structure and function
- Oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes
- Molecular biology of the cell cycle
- Chromosome abnormalities in human cancer
- Familial cancer syndromes.
An overview of immunological approaches to cancer immunotherapy and immunological mechanisms and how these may be used to optimise therapeutic approaches.
- Anti-tumour Antibody Responses
- Cellular Anti-tumour Immunity
- Natural Killer Cells
- CAR and redirected T Cell therapies
- Cytokine Therapy
- Immune evasion by tumours
This series of lectures and discussion groups providing information on cancer vaccines. Topics include: what makes a good vaccine; different vaccine designs; animal models and immunological techniques. This module will cover subjects that have been introduced on the tumour immunology module in more depth.
Scientific Writing and Business Development
This module focuses on the commercialism of research with lectures also on intellectual property. Invited speakers from industry will contribute to this module. In addition, students will learn how to write a business plan on a cancer immunotherapy concept. Students will work in groups to represent individuals in a company and they will develop their own novel concept and write a business plan.
Study the generation of monoclonal antibodies, clinical trials involving antibodies and the future uses of antibody therapy in cancer prevention.
Host Tumour Interface
This module highlights the current understanding of the immunobiology of tumours. This will include the following topics: immunosurveillance, tumour resistance, regulatory T cells. antigenic targets, cytokine therapy, non-specific immunity and animal models.
Cancer Statistics and Epidemiology
This module will give you an understanding of the principles underlying the design and analysis of epidemiological studies and clinical trials.
You will use a range of statistical sources in clinical research, and use those sources to describe and explain concepts fundamental to clinical research of all kinds. You will also learn to describe, interpret and appraise the applicability of statistical methods in a wide range of clinical and biological research.
The research project is undertaken on a tumour immunology related subject and will allow the student to learn the practical and intellectual skills necessary for scientific investigation. The student will also gain experience in project management and acquire more specialised skills related to the project. Students may be able to perform their projects in industrial placements. The module is assessed on progress reports (practical skills), an oral presentation and a write-up in the style of a scientific paper.
Examples of previous research projects:
- Production of a monoclonal antibody that kills ovarian cancer cells
- An anti-endothelial vaccine targeting endothelin receptor B
- Modulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor signalling on human dendritic cells to improve anti-cancer immune responses
- Generation of recombinant ligand Fc fusion proteins to co-stimulate CD55 on T cells
- Microencapsulation of Hepatitis B surface antigen protein and DNA using supercritical fluid technology
- Perturbation of MAPK signalling pathways following exposure of dendritic cells to melanoma lysates
- Identification of antigen specific T regulatory epitopes
- Regulation of IL12, IL23 & IL27 gene expression in dendritic cells by malignant melanoma
- Interleukin (IL)- 27 modifies CD28 and CD55 mediated costimulation of naïve CD4+ T cells
- Tumour-mediated regulation of dendritic cell interaction with lymphendothelium
- Investigation of the effect of IL17 on MMP2 & 9 in breast cancer
- Antigen specific generation of Tr1
- Immune responses to tumour associated antigens in cancer
- The role of CD55 in mouse colorectal cancer
- Analysis of the tumour suppressor LIMD1 in breast cancer
- Investigation of encapsulated tetanus toxoid antigen to generate a single-dose vaccine to tetanus
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
Who teaches on the course?
The MSc Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology is coordinated by academic staff within the Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, which is located within Nottingham City Hospital. In addition, lectures are given by individuals working in industry, and from other members of academic staff in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
How will I learn?
Course material is delivered in a variety of ways, including lectures, practical sessions, tutorials and problem-based learning sessions. The online MSc database provides a central point for students to access their timetables, assessment results and easy access to additional module resources provided by staff. Students will be expected to work independently, and as part of a group.
How will I be assessed?
The library dissertation is assessed by a thesis and an oral presentation. The scientific writing and business development module is assessed by a business plan. The research project is assessed by a research paper, practical work and viva voce. The majority of the remaining modules are assessed by both written examinations and a combination of oral presentations, a practical and essays.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, such as printing, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.
Scholarships and bursaries
There are different ways to fund your postgraduate degree, from scholarships to loans – explore postgraduate funding.
UK government loan
Masters students from England and the EU could qualify for a postgraduate masters loan of up to £10,906.
EU and international students
We offer regional awards for EU and international masters students.
For information on specific funding opportunities and entry requirements, see our webpage for students from your country.