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The University of Southampton

MEDI6035 Cancer Immunology

Module Overview

This module consists of 10 x 2 hour sessions covering 5 topics (two sessions per topic, one week apart). Click on the timetable link for timetables and details of topics covered. Prior to each topic, the relevant journal and supporting documentation will be uploaded onto the course materials section of the website. Each topic will be taught by an academic with a specialist interest in the subject area. The first session will consist of a 50 minute seminar. The content of the seminar will then be discussed by the group, including the lecturer, in order to clarify any points and to frame any questions arising from the lecture that the students find interesting. A journal paper that extends or applies the knowledge in the seminar, will then be handed out to the students. You should read the methods section immediately, in order to ensure that you are familiar with the basic principles of the techniques and/or any confusing abbreviations used. Methodological queries will be discussed at the session. One or more students, depending on class numbers, will be designated to prepare an oral presentation of the paper for the following week. All the students will write a review of the paper stating the hypothesis and summarising the background, results and conclusion with comment on strengths, weaknesses and any new questions arising as a consequence of the paper. The paper and background questions arising from the paper or the seminar will form the basis of the work in the following session, one week later. One student will make an oral presentation of the paper and all the students will be expected to join in a discussion of the paper during and after the presentation. Students who have looked up specific areas will discuss their findings as part of this general discussion of the paper after the oral presentation. The student(s) who give the presentation will not be assessed on their contribution to the discussion.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Describe normal immunological mechanisms to foreign antigens and explain auto-immunity.
  • Discuss the role of T cells in disease processes.
  • Identify key immune mechanisms in the development of targeted treatments for disease.
  • Select important immunological research and discovery tools in health sciences.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Perform succinct oral presentations and discuss the importance and relevance of published work
  • Produce a concise written summary and appraisal of published work including an assessment of its importance in the field of study
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Organise your own activities to achieve a desired outcome within a limited amount of time
  • Direct your own learning
  • Exercise initiative and personal responsibility
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand and summarise immunological work carried out by others in your field of study.
  • Apply information identified from published sources to your own investigations.


a) Histocompatibility antigen processing and antigen presentation b) Dendritic cells c) T lymphocyte receptors d) T cell ontogeny/self-tolerance e) T cell activation and differentiation into effector cells f) Humoral immunity g) Autoimmunity and anti-tumour immunity as anti-self-reactivity T cell responses to cancer h) T regulatory cells i) Vaccines for infection and cancer j) Translational research: Immunotherapy

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of methods will be used including lectures, tutorials and journal club presentations. Total Study Time The module will reflect the normal distribution of 200 hours of student effort attributable to each 20 credit module. Contact hours: 20 Non-contact hours: 180

Independent Study180
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Rhee I, Veillette A. (2012). Protein tyrosine phosphatases in lymphocyte activation and autoimmunity. Nat Immunol. ,13 , pp. 439-47.

Paul WE, Zhu J. (2010). How are T(H)2-type immune responses initiated and amplified?. Nat Rev Immunol. ,10 , pp. 225-35.

Vesely MD, Kershaw MH, Schreiber RD, Smyth MJ. (2011). Natural innate and adaptive immunity to cancer. Annu Rev Immunol. ,29 , pp. 235-71.

Goldsby RA. (2002). Immunology. 

Janeway, Travers, Walport and Shlomchik. Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 

Bour-Jordan H, Bluestone JA. (2009). How suppressor cells led to anergy, costimulation, and beyond. J Immunol. ,183 , pp. 4147-9.

Blum JS, Wearsch PA, Cresswell P. (2013). Pathways of antigen processing. Annu Rev Immunol. ,31 , pp. 443-73.

Yin L, Dai S, Clayton G, Gao W, Wang Y, Kappler J, Marrack P. (2013). Recognition of self and altered self by T cells in autoimmunity and allergy.. Protein Cell.. ,4 , pp. 8-16.

Schreiber RD, Old LJ, Smyth MJ (2011). Cancer immunoediting: integrating immunity's roles in cancer suppression and promotion. Science. ,331 , pp. 1565-70.

Zhu J, Yamane H, Paul WE (2010). Differentiation of effector CD4 T cell populations. Annu Rev Immunol. ,28 , pp. 445-89.


Assessment Strategy

The assessment for the module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. There will be three parts to the assessment, based on oral presentation skills, contribution to discussions and written skills. The incorporation and demonstration of an understanding of immunological mechanisms will also be important in developing the research proposal produced during the Research Skills for Biomedical Sciences module. The markers/reviewers will normally be selected from teachers on the module. Written assignments will be double marked. Assessed Course Work: 1. Oral presentation and discussion of a chosen paper at Journal Club (30%). 2. Contributions to the discussion of four journal papers and the presentations of other students (20%) 3. Written reviews (maximum 1000 words each) for each of five designated journal club paper incorporating a critical assessment of data quality and experimental strategy in the relevant field of research (50%) Assessment requirements You must pass the module with an average overall mark of 50% or above. Compensation between the three assessment components will be allowed provided the minimum mark of each component is 40% or above. Candidates who fail the module at the first attempt will be permitted to take the referral assessment for the failed component. Candidates who achieve at least 50% overall at the second attempt will be permitted to pass the module with a capped module mark of 50%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Contribution 20%
Oral presentation 30%
Review  (1000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion 20%
Oral presentation 30%
Review  (1000 words) 50%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

All journal articles used will be accessible to students through the University of Southampton electronic journals collection. There are no other cost implications arising from this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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