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Fully-funded PhD studentships at The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics Doctoral Training Centre - Novel targeted cytotoxic chemotherapy for prostate cancer

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.

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Novel targeted cytotoxic chemotherapy for prostate cancer.


Taxanes (docetaxel, paclitaxel) are the single most important treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer, but consistently cause dose-limiting toxicities. There is, therefore, a need to develop novel strategies to optimise taxane therapy.

Membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs) are functionally active at high levels in prostate cancer tissue, have negligible activity in normal tissue, and selectively cleave specific peptide sequences. In preliminary studies, we demonstrated proof-of-concept for an MT-MMP-activated taxane (paclitaxel) prodrug, ICT3205, in a prostate cancer model.


To develop a new non-toxic prodrug therapy for prostate cancer.


Optimisation of our prototype prodrug, ICT3205. Fine-tuning of MT-MMP peptide sequence selectivity, and chemical modifications to enhance aqueous solubility. Evaluation of prodrug stability in normal tissues, prodrug activation in tumour tissues; MMP cleavage; assessment of aqueous solubility. 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; peptide chemistry; compound analysis; pharmacological assays; 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, please contact Prof Paul Loadman or Dr Robert Falconer

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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