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Understanding and exploiting immunogenic cell death to treat cancer


   Institute of Cancer Sciences

  Prof Stephen Tait, Dr Ed Roberts  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Cell death both prevents and treats cancer. New anti-cancer therapies that directly target cell death are revolutionising the treatment of cancer. Nevertheless, a major problem to effective cancer treatment is the emergence of treatment resistance. We are interested in killing cancer cells in a way that alerts the immune system to the presence of cancer - in essence harnessing the power and adaptability of tumour immunity to eradicate cancer. Our focus is on mitochondrial apoptosis - we have found that blocking caspase protease activity makes cell death immunogenic. This PhD project will seek to understand why such caspase-inhibited cell death is immunogenic - both at the level of the dying cell but also in understanding how the immune system responds to the dying cell. We will employ novel approaches to inhibit caspase activity. In short, this exciting project will focus on discovery science with clear translation impact for cancer treatment. The techniques it will entail will be varied but include CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, super-resolution microscopy and in vivo modelling of cancer. This will be a collaborative project jointly supervised by Stephen Tait and Ed Roberts. You will join a young, dynamic interdisciplinary research team, based withing the CR-UK Beatson Institute with access to cutting edge technology.

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References

Ahmed A, Tait SWG. Mol Oncol. 2020 Dec;14(12):2994-3006. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12851. Epub 2020 Dec 1.
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