Development of targeted therapeutics for prostate cancer

University of Bradford

About the Project

Although treatments have improved, and more than 75% of men diagnosed now live for 10 years or more, more than 10,000 men still die each year from metastatic prostate cancer (mPCa) in the UK; most are over the age of 75. The need for new, effective therapies that are well tolerated is clear. Despite the advent of molecularly targeted agents and immunotherapies, cytotoxic chemotherapy remains central to treatment of mPCa, but dose-limiting systemic toxicities hamper the effectiveness of these drugs, and often exclude patients on the basis of frailty.

We previously demonstrated preclinical proof-of-concept for a targeted prodrug of a potent anti-vascular agent, ICT2588, which is activated by matrix metalloproteinase MT1-MMP in the tumour microenvironment. This molecule was commercialised through University of Bradford spin-out company Incanthera plc.

We have since developed a series of targeted therapeutics in which potent anti-cancer drugs (including paclitaxel, members of the duocarmycin family of natural products, and DNA damage repair inhibitors) are rendered non-toxic until activated in the prostate tumour microenvironment. This project will evaluate these molecules in cellular systems and in tissues ex vivo. Specifically, you will evaluate activation in prostate tumour tissue, and relative stability in normal tissues ex vivo, evaluate the prodrugs in prostate cancer cells (including those exhibiting drug resistance), and evaluate clinically-relevant combination therapies.

Further information on our research and facilities can be found on our website.

Eligibility

We are particularly keen to receive applications from candidates with medical degrees, but will also consider clinically-focused applicants (e.g. with degrees in clinical pharmacology, or pharmacy).

For candidates with medical degrees: you should have completed pre-registration training, and hold or be eligible for full registration with the UK General Medical Council (GMC). An honorary clinical contract will be sought with the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the appropriate level depending on the applicant’s experience in this case. The successful applicant will participate in clinical activities and be supported to develop and maintain clinical competencies while whilst undergoing laboratory work for the PhD. The ratio of laboratory/clinical work will be agreed with laboratory and clinical supervisors.

We particularly encourage applications from the following under-represented groups as identified by the Office for Students:

  1. Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority students
  2. Disabled students
  3. Female students
  4. Care leavers
  5. Polar Q1 and Q2 students
  6. Refugees (The University of Bradford is recognised as a University of Sanctuary)
  7. Estranged students
  8. Gypsy, Roma, Traveller students
  9. Children from military families, veterans and partners of military personnel.

Applications are invited from U.K. citizens. EU/International student applications are welcome, but these candidates will need to identify the additional funding required for overseas tuition fees; outstanding students may be eligible for a University bursary – please enquire.

How to apply

Formal applications can be made via the University of Bradford web site. New users should register an account on the university’s application system and select ‘Full-time PhD in Cancer Therapeutics’ as the course.

Informal enquiries are also welcome.

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