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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Immuno- and Onco-Therapeutics
Module Code BE558
School School of Biotechnology
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Achilleas Floudas
Semester 2: Achilleas Floudas
Autumn: Achilleas Floudas
Module TeachersPaul Cahill
Denise Harold
Janosch Heller
Achilleas Floudas
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

In this module students will study key immunological and molecular pathways involved in immune disorders and cancer. The students will then be introduced to the scientific process that leads to the identification of targets for the development of novel therapeutics including introduction to emerging technologies. Importantly the students will further develop their critical thinking skills by studying examples of successful and disastrous novel therapeutic development cycles. This module is paired with a patient focused workshop during which students will have the opportunity to interact with patients and hear their experiences and impact that novel therapeutics have made in their quality of life. This will be an interactive module with the introduction of case based learning and live polling applications.

Learning Outcomes

1. Systematic understanding of mechanisms of pathology in immune disorders and cancer
2. Critical awareness of how novel therapeutics alter molecular pathways in immune disorders and cancer, focusing on the impact to the patient.
3. Appreciate the emerging need for targeted therapeutics, improved patient stratification and precision medicine
4. Study examples of successful and disastrous therapeutic development in order to enhance critical thinking and assessment of risk.
5. Introduce emerging technologies (for example, artificial intelligence) and interdisciplinarity that accelerate the development of novel therapeutics.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Workshop2One interactive workshop with patients and patient advocacy group representatives in order for students to appreciate the impact of novel therapeutic development
Lecture12In-person lecture
Tutorial10In-person Tutorial
Independent Study99Reference to reading material
Assignment Completion2No Description
Workshop2No Description
Lecture12No Description
Tutorial10No Description
Independent Study99No Description
Assignment Completion2No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Immuno- and Onco-therapeutics
Introduction to Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases; Introduction to Cancer; Introduction to Precision Medicine; Clinical Trials in the Precision Medicine era; Targeted Therapeutics for Inflammatory Diseases, Inherited Diseases and Cancer; Development of novel therapeutics for Inflammatory Diseases, Inherited Diseases and Cancer

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
In Class TestThis will consist of an online closed-book exam; sample questions will be provided to students in advance of the exam20%Week 6
Group assignmentThe students will be divided into groups in order to review cases of successful or unsuccessful novel therapeutic development cases from therapeutic target identification to drug design and clinical trial. The students will then have to present the rationale that led to the particular clinical trial and apply critical thinking in order to assess the strengths and shortcomings of the study and ultimately propose better alternatives. Each student will be given a role (ie clinician, patient, preclinical data scientist, trial manager) and the students as a group will have to produce a 1500-word report and give a 15-minute presentation with each student participating within their given role.30%Week 23
Oral ExaminationIndividual oral exams (5-10 minutes) will be used to assess the deep knowledge and understanding of students covering the modules content by using challenge or problem-based questions50%Week 26
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Francesco Pezzella,Mahvash Tavassoli,David Kerr: 2019, Oxford Textbook of Cancer Biology, Oxford University Press, 9780198779452
  • Hans-Peter Deigner,Matthias Kohl: 2018, Precision Medicine, Academic Press, 9780128053645
  • Robert R. Rich: 2012, Clinical Immunology: Principles and Practice by Robert R. Rich, 9780723436911
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
GCBPTGraduate Certificate in Biotherapeutics
GDBPTGraduate Diploma in Biotherapeutics
MBPTMSc in Biotherapeutics

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