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Fully-funded PhD studentships at The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics Doctoral Training Centre - Novel prodrug anti-metastatic therapy for neuroblastoma

Full-time: available
Part-time: not available
Prospective PG students (inc. current UG): available
Current PG students: not available
Entry year: 2019/20
Undergraduate: not available
Postgraduate taught: not available
Postgraduate research: available
1 scholarship available

About the scholarship

This is one of three new fully-funded PhD studentships in the new Institute of Cancer Therapeutics Doctoral Training Centre (ICT-DTC) at the University of Bradford. Focused on the generation of new anticancer prodrugs, the ICT-DTC has been created following a major £2m investment by ICT spin-out company Incanthera Ltd.

We are now looking for applications from outstanding potential PhD candidates.

Download further information >>


Novel prodrug anti-metastatic therapy for neuroblastoma.


Neuroblastoma is a paediatric cancer with a desperate need of new non-toxic therapies to combat relapse, which occurs in 50-60% of children, despite an initially good response to chemotherapy and surgery. Current treatments to prevent and/or treat relapse lack efficacy in some patients, and cause significant side-effects.

We previously demonstrated that cytidine monophosphate (CMP) inhibits polysialyltransferase, the enzyme that regulates biosynthesis of polysialic acid on neuroblastoma cells, promoting tumour migration, invasion and metastasis. CMP, while an effective inhibitor, lacks potency due to very poor tumour cell penetration and in vivo instability.


To develop a new type of non-toxic prodrug therapy for neuroblastoma, which will inhibit tumour spread (metastasis)


Synthesis of novel prodrugs of CMP, using clinically proven technology, to address these shortcomings. Evaluation of prodrug stability in blood, neuroblastoma cell penetration and subsequent prodrug release, and effects on tumour cell polysialylation, migration and invasion. Pilot pharmacokinetics study in mice for most promising compound. 

Relevant papers

Eligibility criteria

Background required

Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacy or related subjects.

Main skills

Medicinal chemistry; compound analysis; pharmacological assays; cell culture; drug metabolism.

Eligible countries

Students from all countries, who meet the criteria, are eligible.

Payment amount & frequency

Studentships cover tuition fees, a tax free stipend (at standard MRC rates, £15,009 per annum 2019/20) for the duration programme and writing-up (3.5 years total) and a generous research budget. A travel fund is also provided for each student to guarantee participation in a national and international conference. Funding for specific training courses is also included in the DTC.

How to apply

Potential candidates should apply directly online through the online application portal.

We will continue to accept applications until all places are filled. We will initially consider all applications received by 30 April 2019 for shortlisting and interview.

Anticipated start date: October 2019.

Find out more

For informal enquiries, or for further information about the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics Doctoral Training Centre, please contact Dr Robert Falconer or take a look at our website.

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