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Towards the development of an effective vaccine for advanced prostate cancer


School of Science & Technology

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Dr S McArdle Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Prostate cancer is the second most frequent cancer in men. Patients with a localized disease are treated with local therapies such as prostatectomy or radiation therapy, whereas patients with metastatic disease are treated with androgen deprivation therapies (ADT). However, patients ultimately develop resistance to ADT, thereby leading to a castrate resistant prostate cancer CRPC. The treatment options for such disease are limited and not curative, with a median survival from diagnosis of 14 months. Among these treatments, the Sipuleucel-T based vaccine, which was FDA approved in 2010, has shown to prolong the overall survival by 4 months. This therapeutic vaccine generates immunity against prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) which is overexpressed in prostate tumours. However, the vaccine is expensive and limited in its efficacy.

We have developed (and patented) a new, cheaper and more effective PAP-based vaccine for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer which consists of a mutated 42mer PAP-derived peptide. The project will build upon the data generated to date by demonstrating the ability of vaccine-induced T-cells to slow-down/inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells and tumours expressing PAP. It will also assess whether CD4+ T-cells can be induced if a plasmid DNA coding for the entire PAP is first used, followed by administration of the mutated PAP 42mer vaccine.

The project requires a highly motivated and dedicated student with the ability to deliver science of the highest quality and ambition to progress this new therapeutic towards a First in Man clinical trial.

Applicants should hold, or be expected to hold, an UK Master’s degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a commendation, and/or a UK 1stClass / 2.1 Bachelor’s Honour’s Degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) in Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, or a related Biosciences related subject.

English Language Requirements for all research degree programmes:

You will need an overall IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 with minimum sub-scores of 6.0 in all component sections (writing, reading, listening and speaking). We’ll normally ask applicants who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement to successfully complete an English language course at Nottingham Language Centre.
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