The Big Killers

Unit code: PHAR20302
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 5
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by Manchester Pharmacy School
Available as a free choice unit?: N




The unit aims to:

1. Provide an introduction to the major diseases and how they are treated. The use of antibacterials and antiprotozoals to treat TB and malaria, respectively, will be discussed (Part  1).

2. Discuss the use of antivirals for the treatment of HIV, HSV and influenza  (Part 2).

3. Study the biology of cancer and its treatment (Part 3).

4. Understand the causes and treatment of heart disease (Part 4).



Lectures from staff from the Manchester Pharmacy School and School of Chemistry and The Manchester Royal Infirmary will discuss the “big killers”.

 Part 1 Dr Jill Barber (Manchester Pharmacy School) (9 lectures 2 workshops)

Targets for antibacterial chemotherapy and the discovery and development of antibacterial agents.  Antibacterial drug resistance.  The geography and status of protozoal disease.  The discovery and development of antiprotozoal, especially antimalarial, drugs.

Part 2 Dr John Gardiner (School of Chemistry) (4 lectures 1 workshop)

Targets for antiviral therapy and the discovery and development of antiviral agents. Nucleoside analogues (anti-HIV, anti-HSV), non-nucleoside RT inhibitors of HIV-RT, protease inhibitors and neuraminidase inhibitors as anti-influenza drugs.

Part 3 Prof Ian Stratford (Manchester Pharmacy School) (3 lectures 1 workshop)

Molecular targets in cancer

Part 4 Dr Brian Wood (The Manchester Royal Infirmary) (3 lectures 1 workshop)

Cardiovascular Disease – coronary heart disease and stroke


Learning outcomes


Category of outcome

Students should/will (please delete as appropriate) be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

Students will appreciate the importance of poverty in premature death.  The diseases of poverty and of excess will be discussed and students will understand the influence of geography on disease worldwide.  Students should understand the prevention and treatment of bacterial disease (especially TB), protozoal disease (especially malaria), viral disease (especially AIDS), cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Students will understand the mechanism of action of several categories of antiviral agents.

Intellectual skills


Students will be able to match a disease with treatment and/or prevention


Practical skills





Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students with social consciences will appreciate the social responsibility aspects of the module, which maps onto the Social Responsibility section of the 2015 and 2020 agenda.



Assessment methods

  • Other - 10%
  • Written exam - 80%
  • Set exercise - 10%

Assessment Further Information



Feedback methods

Feedback is given following workshops verbally.  Detailed individual feedback is given following the course test using Smallvoice.  It is also given following the examination.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 24 hours
  • Independent study hours - 74 hours

Teaching staff

John Gardiner - Unit coordinator

Jill Barber - Unit coordinator

Ian Stratford - Unit coordinator

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