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Duocarmycin prodrugs to treat breast cancer: single-agent and combination therapy efficacy in 2D and 3D cancer models

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Chemotherapy is an important treatment for breast cancer, but it is not always successful at killing malignant cells, and can be less effective in patients with cancer that has returned or spread. New, less harsh chemotherapies are needed, particularly for those whose tumours have returned. A PhD position is available in Dr Klaus Pors’ lab ( with focus on investigating how to unlock the potential of duocarmycin prodrugs as a new potent chemotherapy drug, to provide better treatment options for people living with breast cancer.

Duocarmycins are natural product derived cytotoxins that are effective in treating drug-resistant cancer. Unfortunately, in their original form, they are too toxic to be safely used in patients. To overcome this problem, and unlock the clinical potential of duocarmycins as an effective way to treat breast cancer, we seek a PhD student to evaluate cytochrome P450 (CYP) overexpression as targets for tumour-selective prodrug activation. The student will also evaluate new tumour-targeted duocarmycins in 2D and 3D breast cancer models, as single agents or in combination with other drugs or radiotherapy. Combination with the latter modality will be pursued by the student in the laboratory of Prof Stewart Martin at University of Nottingham (

Funding Notes

The PhD project is funded by Breast Cancer Now (View Website) and covers full UK/EU tuition fees, bench fees and a stipend.

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