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Advanced bio-polymer systems for transarterial chemoembolization

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About This PhD Project

Project Description

Embolotherapy is the intentional blockage of a blood vessel to bring about a therapeutic effect by use of a minimally-invasive procedure. In treating malignancies of the liver, particulate embolic agents may be combined with a drug to deliver chemotherapeutic agents directly to a tumour and hence reduce systemic exposure to the drug. This procedure is known as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) using Drug Eluting Beads (DEBs) (or DEB-TACE) and is practised widely both as a neoadjuvant and palliative locoregional therapy for treating liver cancer.

Whilst the beads occlude the feeding vessels of the tumour and release chemotherapy in a controlled fashion over time, they cannot be directly visualized by the physician under the X-ray techniques during the procedure. Recently an inherently radiopaque embolization DEB has been developed by Biocompatibles UK Ltd which can be visualized during both administration and clinical follow-up assessments. There is an opportunity within the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London, to undertake research towards a PhD on this new radiopaque embolization agent. The proposed research will involve developing a deep understanding of the structure-property relationships of the material and how these influence the product’s behaviour during handling and administration, its flow dynamics within the blood vessels and its embolization potential. As the product is intended for use in embolotherapy, it is expected that there will be an element of modelling and simulation of the bead flow behaviour through different anatomical variations of the vasculature feeding different target organs as a function of both bead properties and administration techniques. Detailed studies on the interactions of different chemotherapeutic agents with the beads will be required to understand the factors that influence rate and extent of drug loading and elution. The impact of drug loading on the physicomechanical properties of the beads and the subsequent effect on delivery and embolization performance will be evaluated.

It is expected that the PhD research will be undertaken largely within the University but the successful student will be offered the opportunity to spend some time working within the company’s new R&D laboratories based in Camberley, Surrey.

QMUL Research Studentship Details
◦Available to Home/EU/International Applicants.
◦Full Time programme only
◦Applicant required to start in Sept/Oct 2016.
◦The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend (£16,057 in 2015/16) for up to three years.
◦The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
◦If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking).
◦International applicants should refer to the following website at

Supervisor Contact Details:
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Andy Bushby

Tel: 020 7882 7100

E-mail: [Email Address Removed]

Application Method:
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Materials Science programme (Full Time, Semester 1 start) please follow the apply online link at:

Further Guidance available via:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2016 SEMS QMRS AJB’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.

Deadline for applications: 29/02/2016

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