Sequence 2: Cancer (target cells) 〉 Module 3:
Ethics of cancer treatment
The third module within Sequence 2 focuses on identifying the ethical issues around the design and testing of contemporary cancer treatments. It is possible that this module could take 3 hours of class time.
VCE Biology (2017-2021)
Unit 4, Area of Study 2, Outcome 2, VCE Biology Study Design
Biological knowledge and society
Student learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will:
- Identify the ethical issues around cancer drug design and delivery
- Analyse the interrelationship between scientific knowledge and its application in society
- Understand the social and ethical implications and issues surrounding CAR T-cell cancer treatments
Teacher background information
Additional introductory resources
Frameworks for Ethical analysis
Ethical dilemmas in fighting infection
Note: this process is for some of the stories that the particular web site has focused on. The same process/concept could be used for the discussion of social and ethical implications around T cell therapy and other immunotherapies. Issues such as:
- Unknown side effects
- Access to clinical trials
Thought: Fast-tracking therapies based on a small (but high percentage) of success rates.
Question: CAR T-cell therapy is used for patients with end-stage cancer where other available treatments have failed. If CAR T-cell therapy successfully ensures remission in a number of patients, why do we need so many clinical trials? Why can’t the treatment be available to everyone?
TES: Monoclonal Antibodies lesson
Asks students to investigate the ethics of the use of animals in creating monoclonal antibodies, and the risks to humans in clinical trials of cancer treatments. Includes worksheets, presentation and a range of questions pertaining to ethics.
TES Australia: Herceptin the story of a new medicine
A powerpoint presentation that provides an outline on how the monoclonal antibody Herceptin is developed using animals. Can be used as a case study to discuss the ethics of cancer research.
Debate, write a letter to the editor or role play the following issue:
Identify the ethical issues around cancer drug design and delivery.