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CH20160: Major therapeutic areas

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Chemistry
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, EX 80%
Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 80%)
  • Coursework (CW 20%)
Supplementary Assessment:
CH20160 - Examination (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take CH10191 AND take CH10192
Learning Outcomes: After taking this course the student should be able to understand:
* Appreciate how medicinal chemists use structure-activity relationships physico-chemical parameters and knowledge of a biological target to design better drugs;
* Understand why different types of antibacterial drugs have been developed to treat infection and deal with problems arising from the onset of resistance;
* Understand the fundamentals of oncology and the cell-cycle process and appreciate the mode of action of various types of anticancer drugs;
* Describe the mode of action of drugs that have been developed to treat disorders of the various parts of the central nervous system;
* Appreciate the mode of action of drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease and heart failure from both a molecular and physiological basis.

Aims: To introduce students to some of the main therapeutic areas of drug discovery, using different case studies to illustrate how drugs have been discovered, and understand how they function at a molecular level.

Skills: Numeracy (F, A). Problem solving (T,F,,A)
Scientific writing (F, A). Independent working (F). Group working (F)

Content: Antimicrobial therapy. Different classes of antibiotic. Antibiotics against cell walls. Antimetabolites. Ribosomal antibiotics. Topoisomerase antibiotics. Strategies to deal with proliferation. Antiviral therapy. Bird Flu and AIDS. Problems with development of resistance.
Cancer. The cell cycle. Common classes of anti-cancer drugs and their modes of action. Alkylating agents. Antimetabolites. Topoisomerase inhibitors. Antitumour antibiotics. Microtubule Inhibitors. Kinase Inhibitors.
Neuroscience. Peripheral and adrenergic nervous system. Neurotransmitters. Cholinergic, muscarinic and nicotinic receptors. Anticholinesterases, β-blockers and opioids. Examples of drugs for pain, depression, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, antipsychotics and Parkinson's disease.
Cardiovascular. Role of lifestyle, cholesterol and fatty acids. ACE inhibitors and angiotensin inhibitors. Calcium channel blockers and vasodilators. Cardiac glycosides. Drugs used for treatment of artherosclerotis, angina, heart failure, hypertension, arrhythmia and strokes.

Programme availability:

CH20160 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry
  • USCH-AFB07 : BSc(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery (Year 2)
  • USCH-AAB08 : BSc(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USCH-AKB08 : BSc(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement (Year 2)
  • USCH-AFM05 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery (Year 2)
  • USCH-AAM06 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USCH-AKM03 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement (Year 2)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.