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Development and delivery of novel targeted nanoliposomes for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Pluen
    Dr C Hunter
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common type of haematological cancer in adults and is characterised by the overproduction of white blood cells in the bone marrow. Despite advances in chemo- and immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of CLL, undesirable side effects remain common due to inefficient or non-specific drug cellular uptake and development of resistance to current therapies.

Immunoliposomes, which are coated with antibodies, can mediate targeted delivery of the payload to cells expressing the appropriate antigen and have been used with success for the treatment of arthritis and neoplasia. However traditional liposomes tend to be relatively large and rigid drug carriers which in turn limit the penetration of tissues and cells.

This project seeks to eliminate the aforementioned issues by utilising a novel generation of liposomes that so far have not been used in the treatment of leukaemia. This approach, combined to the specific antigen targeting, is expected to improve the delivery of chemotherapeutics and/or support previous evidence that shRNA mediates a longer gene silencing on chronic myeloid leukaemia cells (1).

The initial focus will be on the preparation and characterisation of properties of these nanoliposomes then evaluate their ability to penetrate cells, deliver their payload to CLL cells and exert the expected biological activity.
Training will be provided in a range of techniques including pharmaceutical chemistry nanoparticle preparation, formulation and characterisation, imaging, western blotting, Elisa, FACS, qRT-PCR and cytotoxic assays.

Candidates are expected to hold a minimum upper-second honours undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant biomedical science, (bio) chemistry or pharmaceutical sciences subject. A Masters qualification in a similar area would be a significant advantage.

This 4-year full-time PhD is open to candidates able to provide evidence of self-arranged funding/ sponsorship and is due to commence from January 2017 onwards.

Any enquiries relating to the project and/or suitability should be directed to Dr Pluen ([email protected]). Applications are invited on an on-going basis but early expression of interest is encouraged.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 2 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website. 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.


1. Y Arthanari, A Pluen, R Rajendran, H Aojula and C Demonacos, Journal of Controlled Release 145 (2010), 272-280.

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