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Characterisation of enhanced bacterial immunotherapy to treat colorectal cancer


   Cardiff School of Biosciences

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  Dr L Parry  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Theoretically, RNA interference to reduce oncogene expression is an attractive therapeutic intervention to reduce tumour burden. Except for delivery of shRNA packaged in nanoparticles to hepatic tumours, the major obstacle to the use of therapeutic RNAi has always been finding a way to deliver interfering RNA molecules to a tumour. To overcome this hurdle, we have focussed on manipulating oncotropic bacteria to stably synthesise shRNA. Conceptually, this approach is designed to ensure that tumour-colonising bacteria continuously synthesise shRNA, enhancing the therapeutic effect of bacterial colonisation which can trigger the host immune system to recognise the tumour. Initial results with a manipulated strain of the oncotropic bacterium administered as a single dose to a genetically manipulated mouse model of acute colorectal cancer (CRC)indicated (a) a high degree of tumour tropism; (b) significantly extended survival of treated mice; (c) a reduction in oncogene expression, as outlined below. Our goal is to provide data to justify subsequent clinical trials and expand the pre-clinical data into other solid tumour types of clinical unmet need e.g breast, pancreas and prostate.  We have developed mouse models which develop single tumours akin to human presentation at clinic and have access to a panel of human cancer cell lines. The focus will be to develop customised bacteria strains to target genes relevant to different cancer types and provide detailed analyses of (1) immune responses , (2) tissue colonisation by bacteria – assessing a range of healthy tissues/organs including, for example, spleen obtained from sacrificed animals, (3) responses in the tumours such as size changes and changes in gene expression of target genes, and (4) comparison of survival times among the different cohorts.

Candidate requirements

A 1st or Upper 2nd class UK honours degree or equivalent. Please visit School of Biosciences Postgraduate Research for more details.

For those whose first language is not English, IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or equivalent. Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.

How to Apply 

To submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service, click the 'Institution Website' button on this advert; in the ‘Apply’ box at the top-right of the page, select Qualification (Doctor of Philosophy), Mode of Study (Full Time) and Start Date (this can be flexible as it is a self-funded project). This will take you to the application portal.

Candidates must submit the following:

 • Supporting statement

 • CV

 • Qualification certificates

 • Proof of English language (if applicable) 

In the research proposal section of the application, specify the project title and supervisors of the project. In the funding section, specify that you will be self-funding. If you are applying for more than one Cardiff University project with the same entry intake, please note this in the research proposal section as the form only allows you to enter one title.


Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, so students will need to source their own (tuition, bench fees if applicable, living fees if applicable).

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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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