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Anna Schuh Clare Verrill
Schuh Anna VerrillClare.jpg


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student will be able to:

1.     Apply the principles of cancer development and emerging changes in classification

2.     Compare and contrast the genomic basis of cancer predisposition, and how this is used to identify people and families at higher risk of cancer

3.     Critically evaluate how genomic information is currently applied in the diagnosis, classification, and treatment selection and monitoring of cancer (e.g. leukaemia, breast, melanoma, lung cancers)

4.     Analyse how information from exome and whole genome analysis of tumour tissue can be used to investigate the molecular and cellular processes leading to cancer and inform strategies for drug development.

5.     Give an overview of existing and emerging imaging technologies in the clinic used for risk stratification and response assessment

6.     Introduce the concept of Big Data in digital pathology and image analysis

7.     Give an overview of sample requirements for multi-omics, to include RNA/DNA, FFPE/FF, cell free tumour DNA/circulating tumour cells

8.     Understand the principles of monitoring and minimal residual disease (MRD), screening and early detection

9.     Critically appraise the potential impact of precision cancer diagnostics (digital pathology and molecular diagnostics) on global health

10.   Understand the limitations of current approaches to precision cancer medicine, and how these might be overcome


Indicative Content

  • Tumour classification systems
  • Cellular properties of tumours: growth, division, invasion, aberrant hormone or toxin production, immunogenicity
  • Factors in tumour formation: molecular mechanisms and role of microenvironment, molecular signatures and changing classification
  • Diagnosis, molecular sub-classification, aggressiveness (prognosis) characterisation of metastases
  • Monitoring disease following treatment (medical, surgical or bone marrow transplant)
  • Genomic testing of cell free tumour DNA in blood, for diagnosis and monitoring of solid cancers
  • Importance of sample quality for tumour genomic analysis
  • Molecular basis of single gene subsets; research evidence (co-segregation studies) identifying sequence alterations (single gene Sanger sequencing and NGS panel tests); how to interpret molecular results for pathogenicity – literature, databases, and in silico tools
  • Other molecular predisposition; GWAS studies; other predisposition biomarkers
  • Environmental factors and lifestyle predisposition and protection; molecular action; genomic interaction; epigenetic factors
  • Genomic and cellular markers and optimal treatment regimes in haematological cancer and solid tumours
  • Companion diagnostics in cancer
  • Breakthrough tumour/ metastases and molecular mechanisms
  • Overview of global trends in pathology and molecular diagnostics
  • Point of care testing; digital technologies and approaches to provide access to precision cancer diagnostics to large populations in low to middle income countries (LMICs)
  • Genomics of toxicity