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Demystifying Targeted Cancer Treatments

Cancer Research UK via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Deepen your understanding and improve communication with patients and colleagues

Please note: Although the course is open to all, it has been designed primarily for clinical research nurses, practitioners and clinical research professionals working with patients on clinical cancer trials. The course is also relevant for specialist cancer nurses. See more information below.

Thanks to ground-breaking research over the past 20 years, new, more targeted treatments and immunotherapies have been developed that are changing the way we treat cancer, and providing new hope for patients. Join us and discover the science behind these treatments and learn through quizzes, interviews, articles and patient case studies You’ll learn from experts in the field and gain a deeper understanding of how targeted cancer treatments and immunotherapies work to support your patients.

Each week, you’ll have the opportunity to follow and engage in discussion with other learners on key issues via the comments section, share your experience and knowledge, and hear different perspectives to enhance your learning experience. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way. Don’t forget to comment, reply to other learners and ‘like’ comments.

This course has been designed primarily for clinical cancer research nurses, along with other members of the clinical cancer research team. It can go towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and/or revalidation with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The course is also relevant for and may be of interest to specialist cancer nurses and other health professionals including pharmacists and medical/science graduates studying this topic.

We strongly encourage clinical research professionals taking the course to share their feedback by completing the pre- and post-course surveys so that we can continue to to make sure the course meets your needs and expectations.

A basic understanding of how cells work is needed to get the most out of this course. Some experience working in cancer is also recommended.


  • An introduction to targeted cancer treatments
    • Welcome to the course
    • What are targeted cancer treatments?
    • How are targeted cancer treatments used today?
    • Biological concepts behind targeted cancer treatments
    • Summary
  • Targeted cancer treatments for solid tumours
    • Welcome to week two
    • Cell communication and cancer
    • Drugs that block cell communication pathways
    • Explaining cell communication blockers to patients
    • Blocking angiogenesis
    • Introducing CDK and PARP inhibitors
    • Summary
  • Targeted treatments for blood cancers
    • Welcome to week three
    • Introduction to blood cancers
    • Topic 1: Targeted treatments for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
    • Topic 2: Targeting the Bcr-Abl kinase in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
    • Topic 3: Targeted treatments for acute leukaemias, Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma
    • Summary
  • Immunotherapies
    • Welcome to week four
    • Using the immune system to treat cancer
    • Checkpoint inhibitors
    • Other immunotherapy strategies
    • Immunotherapy in the news: deciphering hope and hype
    • What does the future of immunotherapy look like?
    • Summary
  • Current challenges and future promise
    • Welcome to week five
    • Current challenge: drug resistance
    • Current challenge: putting biomarkers into practice
    • The future of targeted cancer treatments - vaccines and viruses?
    • Summary

Taught by

Elaine Vickers and Anne Croudass


4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 65 ratings

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