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Cancer: Developing cubosome nanocarriers to improve chemotherapy responses in breast cancer


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (outside UK)
Dr Thomas Hughes and Dr Arwen Tyler
School of Medicine
Research groups/institutes
Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Cytotoxic chemotherapy is a treatment component for around a third of primary and the majority of secondary breast cancer patients. Unfortunately, failure of this treatment is relatively common, as evidenced by recurrences after primary disease or progression and death in the metastatic setting. There is an urgent unmet need to improve chemotherapy responses.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>We will develop and test a novel strategy to deliver chemotherapy more effectively to cancer cells, and to avoid chemoresistance. We will encapsulate chemotherapy agents in lipid nanocarriers known as &ldquo;cubosomes&rdquo;. We will direct these cubosomes to bind to cancer cells using specific targeting ligands. We will also use the cubosomes to deliver gene-specific siRNAs to reduce expression levels of known chemoresistance genes and thereby sensitise the cells to chemotherapy.&nbsp;</p> <p>We expect to develop and validate a new nanocarrier technology for chemotherapy delivery and to reduce chemoresistance. In the future, we aim to apply this technology to breast cancer patients to improve outcomes after chemotherapy.</p> <h5>Techniques associated with this project:</h5> <p>Monoolien-based cubosomes will be manufactured, loaded with chemotherapy and/or siRNAs. These will be chemically conjugated to targeting ligands. Cubosomes will be characterized by dynamic light scattering, electron microscopy, and small angle X-ray scattering. A panel of breast cancer cell lines will be used; analyses will involve tissue culture assays (growth / survival assays, fluorescence microscopy) and expression analyses (qPCR / Westerns).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This project is part of the <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">International PhD Academy: Medical Research</a></p> <p><strong>In line with the bespoke nature of our International PhD Academy a modified PhD project can be proposed dependent on students interests and background.</strong></p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Please note these are not standalone projects and applicants must apply to the PhD academy directly.</p> <p>Applications can be made at any time. You should complete an <a href="">online application form</a> and attach the following documentation to support your application.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>a full academic CV</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks (or marks so far if still studying)</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the programme&rsquo;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable, see requirement below)</li> <li>Evidence of funding to support your studies</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Medicine, Health and Human Disease as your programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

A degree in biological sciences, dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology or a good honours degree in a subject relevant to the research topic. For entry requirements for all other research degrees we offer, please contact us.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The minimum requirements for this programme in IELTS and TOEFL tests are: &bull; British Council IELTS - score of 7.0 overall, with no element less than 6.5 &bull; TOEFL iBT - overall score of 100 with the listening and reading element no less than 22, writing element no less than 23 and the speaking element no less than 24.

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>Informal enquires about regarding the bespoke taught first year of the PhD programme and research projects can be made by contacting <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Enquiries regarding the application process should be directed to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Graduate School e: <a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>