~80% of children undergoing cancer treatment develop mucositis as a side effect. Mucositis is inflammation of the oral cavity associated with painful mouth sores, which often prevent oral intake of food and necessitate the use of gastric tubes or drips. In severe cases, mucositis results in alteration of planned cancer treatments and hence worse prognosis. Ulcerative mucositis can become life threatening due to bacteraemia. Early interventions to prevent negative impact on quality of life of children undergoing cancer treatments and their families require that severe mucositis is diagnosed prior to inflammation becoming clinically apparent, an option which is still lacking. For early diagnosis of severe mucositis in patients undergoing cancer treatments, this project will develop micro-sensors that will change their colour depending on the concentration of predictive biomarkers of mucositis in mouth.
The student will be based in the School of Chemistry at University of Birmingham (UoB). UoB is an ideal location to carry out the proposed project because expertise is available on technology development, biomarker discovery, and cancer science alongside collaborators at a world-renowned children’s hospital with an active department treating paediatric cancer. The multidisciplinary and translational research environment offered at the UoB is highly conducive to delivering this ambitious proposal. Equally, research centres such as the Institute of Translational Medicine will provide infrastructure to perform small-scale clinical trials for the proposed technology once a proof-of-principle has been demonstrated. Birmingham Health Innovation Campus aligns with the broader life sciences expertise across the West Midlands for improved treatment and patient care.
Applications from self-funded students are invited. No scholarships are available for this project. Interested candidates may contact Dr Gupta ([Email Address Removed]) for an informal discussion.