• A capital C written on the left and Cancer Research UK written on the right

Demystifying Targeted Cancer Treatments

Discover the science of targeted cancer treatments and immunotherapies on this course designed for clinical cancer research nurses

18,735 enrolled on this course

A patient and a nurse interacting
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

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.

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What topics will you cover?

  • What are targeted treatments and how are they used today
  • Biological concepts behind targeted cancer treatments and immunotherapies
  • Principles of cell communication and cancer
  • Treatments for solid tumours that block cell communication pathways (monoclonal antibodies and kinase inhibitors)
  • Communicating to patients about targeted cancer treatments
  • Side effects of treatments and how they impact patients’ quality of life
  • The unique properties of blood cancers and the targeted therapies used to treat them
  • The relationship between cancer and the immune system
  • Various immunotherapy strategies including checkpoint inhibitors, CAR-modified T cells and cancer treatment vaccines
  • How immunotherapy is reported in the news and managing patient expectations of treatment
  • The challenges of drug resistance and the implementation of biomarker tests
  • The future of targeted cancer treatments

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understand the science behind targeted cancer treatments and how they work
  • Improve confidence in communicating to patients and colleagues about targeted cancer treatments, immunotherapy and biomarkers
  • Appreciate why so called 'targeted treatments' cause side effects and understand how they impact patients’ quality of life
  • Recognise some of the current challenges and future potential of targeted cancer treatments

Who is the course for?

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.

Who will you learn with?

I qualified as a nurse in 1994, and after several years working on medical wards, I moved into research. For the last 10 years I have been the lead research nurse at CRUK.

Author of "A beginner's guide to targeted cancer treatments". Elaine teaches cancer biology and the science of new cancer treatments to non-scientists. She has a PhD in Molecular Biology.

Who developed the course?

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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