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Investigating the anti-cancer effect of hop β -acid Lupulone and its synthetic derivatives on breast cancer cells

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Research Group: Biomedical Research Group

Proposed supervisory team:
Dr Grisha Pirianov ()

Theme: Cardiovascular, Translational Biomedicine

Summary of the research project

For centuries extracts of hops (Humulus lupulus L) have been used as flavouring in the brewing industry where they provide the unique flavour and aroma to the beverage. As well as providing the taste and bouquet to beer hop additives also have a bacteriostatic role which prevents the brew from clouding and spoiling Hop extracts contain a diverse array of natural products such as polyphenols (β -acid Lupulone). Lupulone exhibits anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activity.

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the western world and current treatments include surgery, chemo- therapy and radiotherapy. The development of new anticancer compounds which could overcome the resistance of breast cancer following treatment with existing approaches is a big challenge. Hop-sourced Lupulones are natural compounds and they may be suitable candidates for chemotherapy with potentially less toxic side effects.

Main goal: This project will investigate the anti-cancer effect and mechanism of action of novel Lupulone derivatives on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. There are two main objectives:

1. To investigate the anti-cancer effect of natural Lupulone and synthetic Lupulone derivatives in MCF-7 breast cancer cells in comparison with breast cells.

2. To investigate the mechanism by which Lupulone derivatives induce in MCF-7 breast cancer cell death.

Methodology: Cell culture and cell-based essays, western blotting, ELISA and antibody array approaches.

Collaborations: This project is based on academic collaborations with Kingston University where natural and synthetic hop Lupulone derivatives have been generated.

Outcomes: The results from this study will validate the potential of novel hop β -acid Lupulone and its and synthetic derivatives as candidates for pre-clinical studies in breast cancer treatment.

Where you’ll study

Cambridge (

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Biomedical Science PhD ( In the section of the application form entitled ’Outline research proposal’, please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded.
Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website (View Website) as they become available.

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