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Investigation of long-term sensory neuronal degeneration and pain in adult childhood cancer survivors

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

Project Description

Advances in childhood cancer research has led to increased understanding and early diagnosis of cancer, has led to a significant increase in childhood cancer survivorship. However, use of anti-cancer treatments come at a price, as 75% of patients have to live with therapy associated side-effects for many years after the treatment has stopped. Many adult childhood cancer survivors highlight pain as a side-effect of treatment, with chemotherapy (platinum-based) induced sensory neurodegeneration leading to long-term alterations in sensory perception in adult childhood cancer survivors.

Pain, a quality of life issue for adult childhood cancer survivors is underrepresented both in the clinic and research based investigations. This requires initiatives to be forged to drive research into identifying adult childhood cancer survivorship pain focussed therapies, which is the ultimate objective of this investigation. We are currently defining how chemotherapy can damage the sensory nervous system but also establishing how this activates the sensory neurons to cause pain. We have established key growth factors that are involved with neuroprotection and pain development.

By targeting these mechanisms we believe we can understand chemotherapy induced sensory neurodegeneration and pain, which will allow us to effectively treat pain in the future. We utilise cell and rodent based assays inclusive of histology, behavioural assessment and electrophysiological studies incorporating biochemical techniques. This work will involve collaborations at Nottingham Trent University including the John van Geest Centre and University of Nottingham.

Applicants should have a 2:1 or 1st class honours degree in a subject relevant to the proposed project. A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters degree with Merit.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity


1. Hathway GJ, Murphy E, Lloyd J, Greenspon C, Hulse RP. Cancer Chemotherapy in Early Life Significantly Alters the Maturation of Pain Processing. Neuroscience. 2017 Dec 2. pii: S0306-4522(17)30826-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.11.032. [Epub ahead of print
2. Hulse RP (2017) Role of VEGF-A in chronic pain. Oncotarget. Feb 14; 8(7): 10775–10776.
3. *R.P. Hulse. (2015) Reduced neural encoding of high intensity mechanical stimulation leads to the onset of mechanical hyperalgesia in neuropathic pain. Eur J Pain. Apr;20(4):615-25.
4. Vencappa. S, Donaldson, LF and *Hulse RP. (2015) Cisplatin induced sensory neuropathy is prevented by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A Am J Transl Res 2015;7(6):1032-1044.

How good is research at Nottingham Trent University in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.80

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

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