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Precious metals in the fight against cancer


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Platinum-based complexes, Cisplatin, Oxaliplatin and Carboplatin, are the most widely used chemotherapeutics, nonetheless there is a major unmet clinical need for new treatments that expand the range of treatable cancers and overcome inherent and acquired platinum resistance.

This has stimulated the research for potential antineoplastic drugs based on other transition metals. Organometallic ‘piano-stool’ complexes of can be designed to allow fine-tuning of their physical and chemical properties with consequent optimisation of biological activity. Importantly, unlike the platinum compounds in the clinic, organometallic complexes based on other precious metals can exert their activity through non-DNA mechanisms of action as they can target mitochondrial pathways and induce redox (both oxidative and reductive) stress.

This is an exciting multidisciplinary project incorporating elements of biological, inorganic and physical chemistry, as well as, cancer cell biology. Hence, you will start the project with the design, synthesis and characterisation of novel metal-based complexes, before moving to look into their anticancer properties. The investigation of the mechanism of action of these novel metal-based anticancer complexes will be a challenging but exciting task. You will develop biological laboratory skills, as well as a deeper understanding on important biological processes. Moreover, your involvement with biological assays and their feedback into further chemical optimisation will provide you with a new perspective into interdisciplinary research and a fresh approach towards modern drug development. Importantly, comparative investigations using platinum-resistant cancer cell lines will aim to fine-tune the physicochemical and redox properties of the metal-complexes to overcome the limitations of the platinum-drugs in the clinic.
Person Specification: Applicants should have a background in synthetic organic or inorganic chemistry, or medicinal chemistry and/or biochemistry. They should be willing to extend their areas of expertise and get involved with cancer cell culture and general cell biology.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Isolda Romero-Canelón.
Email:

To be considered for the studentship, please send the following documents to :
- A detailed CV, including your nationality and country of birth;
- Names and addresses of two referees;
- A covering letter highlighting your research experience/capabilities;
- Copies of your degree certificates with transcripts;
- Evidence of your proficiency in the English language, if applicable.

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