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The interface between metastatic deposits and local immunity

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

About the Project

Cancer spread to the pleural space carries a universally poor prognosis. Cancers need to evade local immunity and build a niche supportive to their growth to colonise the pleural space. This PhD studentship will define the key interactions between metastatic cancer cells and the local resident immune cells that regulate cancer growth using primary human samples. We will use single cell RNA sequencing to find the key signalling pathways up-regulated in cancer and immune cells. We hypothesise that modulating key pathways of communication between cancer and immune cells will lead to inhibition of tumour growth and development. We will test this hypothesis through developing in vitro models using primary human samples taken from the pleural space.

This will enable co-culture of metastatic tumour cells with resident immune cells in controlled conditions that will enable several different permutations of immune cell modulation to be tested for their effect on tumour growth and development. Although the pleural space is easily accessible and a useful surrogate of the microenvironment of metastases, procedures to remove fluid from patients with metastatic cancer are usually done ad-hoc and not in a predictable manner that is conducive to planned research. However recently we have set up a daily pipeline for samples from patients with lung conditions with same day processing, that will allow us to succeed where others have not.

Entry requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a first-class honours degree (or equivalent) of distinction at masters level in physics or medical physics or a closely related area/subject.

How To Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Cancer Sciences

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 3 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website View Website
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website View Website

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