The University of Southampton
Courses

BIOL3027 Selective Toxicity

Module Overview

This module is concerned with the mechanism of action of several chemotherapeutic agents, targeted at various disease states. Topics covered include anticancer agents, anthelmintics, antimalarials, antisense oligonucleotides and antiviral compounds. The module will emphasise the molecular mechanism of action of drugs in each of these categories.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide third year students with an introduction to the principles of selective toxicity, in which chemotherapeutic agents are used to inhibit the growth of an invading species by selective targeting pathways or processes in the pathogen.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the processes that can lead to cancer formation (viral and cellular oncogenes, chromosomal aberrations, mutagenesis). Explain the molecular basis of action of current anticancer agents, with particular emphasis on cytotoxic agents targeted at DNA replication and new agents against specific molecular targets.
  • State the importance of anthelmintic therapy for human health. Describe common animal parasites of humans and the pathophysiology associated with infection. Outline the most commonly used anthelmintic agents. Describe in detail the mechanism of action of levamisole, piperazine and ivermectin and in particular how these drugs achieve selective toxicity.
  • Identify the key events in the life cycle of the malaria parasite and how these may be affected by antimalarial agents.
  • Outline the potential of oligonucleotides as antisense agents for inhibiting the synthesis of individual gene products. Describe their mechanism of action and the various modifications that have been used to increase their activity.
  • Outline the major points in a virus lifecycle of that are potential targets for selective antiviral agents with particular reference to herpes and HIV. Describe how nucleoside analogues function as inhibitors of thymidine kinase, DNA polymerase and reverse transcriptase.
  • Outline the mechanisms of action of the major antifungal agents (griseofulvin, amphotericin, imidazoles, fluorocytosine).
  • Explain the importance of antibiotic resistance and the need for producing new antimicrobial agents, including the strategies for identifying new targets in pathogens.

Syllabus

This module is concerned with the mechanism of action of several chemotherapeutic agents, targeted at various disease states. Topics covered include anticancer agents, anthelmintics, antimalarials, antisense oligonucleotides and antiviral compounds. The module will emphasise the molecular mechanism of action of drugs in each of these categories.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures. Students are strongly encouraged to attempt exam questions from previous years and to submit these for comments and feedback.

TypeHours
Independent Study126
Lecture24
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Written exam  (2 hours) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Written exam  (2 hours) 100%
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