Cancer, Brain Tumours & Rogue Cells: The science behind the killer disease

This is a Medicine Subject Spotlight with Dr Shafiq Ahmed from University of Sunderland. An interactive, cinematic course taster experience to allow students to gain insights into what it's like to study Medicine.

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In this captivating Subject Spotlight, Dr Shafiq Ahmed looks at: ​​Cancer, brain tumours and rogue cells: the science behind the killer disease. Shafiq begins the Spotlight by offering a brief history of cancer, identifies some of the key terminologies when referencing cancer, and explains the ten hallmarks of cancer. He goes on to explain three of the key hallmarks of cancer, previously documented in episode 1. They include evading growth suppressors, sustained proliferative signalling and evasion of apoptosis. In episode 3, Shafiq presents a case study of brain tumours, with a focus on ​​one of the most aggressive and malignant brain tumours, the glioblastoma. Shafiq documents natural repair mechanisms and treatments as part of this case study. In the final episode, he explores some interesting statistics on cancer, including the differences between males and females and how lifestyle impacts our chances of getting it. He also presents an activity that invites you to investigate breast cancer, with a keen eye on a scientific approach, whilst also providing you with meaningful and professional feedback.

About University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland is a top 50 UK university (Guardian University Guide 2024) and a global institution which offers life-changing opportunities for over 20,000 students across its four campuses in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong. With over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, placement opportunities and the option to study full or part-time, there’s something for everyone at Sunderland. The University of Sunderland has also received five stars for teaching, inclusiveness, employability and facilities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and is in the top 10 UK universities for social inclusion (The Times Good University Guide 2024).

Meet the academics

Dr Shafiq Ahmed

Dr Shafiq Ahmed is Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology at the University of Sunderland. He joined the School of Medicine as a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology in 2021, having held the position of a Senior lecturer in Biochemistry in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences since 2016. Shafiq graduated from Queen Mary (University of London) in 2001 with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and completed his PhD in 2005 from the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, University of Newcastle, where he developed small molecule inhibitors targeting protein-protein interaction for the treatment of cancers. He then undertook postdoctoral research at the University of York, investigating basal signalling pathways to identify drug development targets in cancers, and contributed to the undergraduate teaching programme. Shafiq moved to CRUK Beatson Institute, Glasgow, in 2011 as a postdoctoral researcher and then relocated to the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow. Shafiq’s primary research interest is on glioblastomas; an incurable brain tumour. The aim of his laboratory is to identify signalling pathways that can be targeted for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of glioblastomas.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Subject Spotlights fuse education and entertainment to bring you the new way of researching your university options.

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This subject spotlight is made for students aged 16 and above, that are considering applying to University, particularly to study the subject in the title, or similar areas.

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The easiest way to include it would be to briefly mention one or two things you learned from it and how/why those learnings have furthered your desire to study the subject. We don't want to prescribe an answer because it's your personal statement but this is a good starting point!