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Translational studies of the immune environment in newly diagnosed bladder cancer and changes induced by treatment

  • Full or part time

    Prof A Melcher
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 01, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

For details on how to apply using our online recruitment system please see

There has been a growing interest in manipulation of the immune response in cancer with an increasing number of drugs being licenced, mostly in the metastatic disease setting. Bladder cancer is a promising target for approaches targeting the PD1/PDL1 axis with a number of approved agents in the clinic. However, in the advanced disease setting, only around a quarter of patients experience worthwhile clinical responses and the reasons underlying this are poorly understood. There is both a prognostic and predictive relationship between better responses and over-expression of PD1/PDL1 either on tumour cells or the associated immune infiltrates in the tumour. However, this association is not sufficient to explain the variability in responses seen, nor to select patients for treatment in the majority of cases. Newly launched trials such as RADIO (Chief Investigator: Nick James) and Keynote-992 (Nick James part of the Trial Management Group) are exploring the first line use of immune-oncology (IO) agents as part of radical therapy for newly diagnosed patients.
The Prostate and Bladder Cancer Research Team have access to a number of mature tissue collections, summarised in the figure below. These include the Birmingham based Bladder Cancer Prognosis Programme 1, the joint Birmingham/ICR BC2001 trial 2,5 and the Birmingham based TUXEDO trial 4. In addition, we will be prospectively collecting tissue and urine in the recently commenced RADIO trial (Chief Investigator: Nick James) comparing chemoradiation as per BC2001 2 with chemoradiation plus neoadjuvant, synchronous and adjuvant durvalumab. This provides an ideal platform for validating any immune based signatures developed using the archive materials as well as assessing in a randomised setting the changes induced by the use of an IO agent in the first line setting. In addition, an opportunity exists via the Keynote-992 trial comparing chemoradiation with chemoradiation plus pembrolizumab to further validate any findings from the project.

Please see for more details

Funding Notes

Students receive an annual stipend, currently £21,000 per annum, as well as having tuition fees (both UK/EU and overseas) and project costs paid for the four-year duration. We are open to applications from any eligible candidates and are committed to attracting and developing the best minds in the world.

For details on how to apply using our online recruitment system please see View Website. Please note we only accept applications via the online application system.

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