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Natural products in design of new cancer treatments (SEARCEYMU19SF) 

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Searcey
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Natural products are the backbone of clinically used anti-cancer agents and yet suffer from drawbacks associated with their toxicity. We have investigated ways to turn natural products into prodrugs that are activated in the tumour (i) and we have developed efficient synthetic routes to generate analogues of extremely potent antitumour antibiotics (ii). One approach to increasing the potential of anticancer natural products is to develop ways to target them to the tumour, so that the toxic side effects are minimised while the therapeutic effect is increased. Antibody drug conjugates that have progressed into the clinic and that carry a cytotoxic agent to the tumour have demonstrated the potential of this approach. In this project, we will design peptide nanoparticle conjugates that can target a tumour cell and we will investigate their biological activity. Ultimately, the aim will be to develop a new compound with therapeutic potential in the treatment of cancer. This is a project based at the synthetic/medicinal chemistry interface and would appeal to someone who want to combine chemistry and biological studies.     
Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.

Project Start Date: Oct 2019
Mode of Study: Full-time
Acceptable First Degree: Chemistry, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences or related degrees 
Minimum Entry Requirements: UK 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources.  Details of tuition fees can be found at  
A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research.  The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) Mol. Cancer Therap. 2013, 12, 27-37. 

ii) J. Org. Chem. 2015, 19, 9454-9467

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