Self-funded PhD opportunities

Synthesis, Formulation and Efficacy of Boron-containing Compounds for the Boron Neutron Capture Therapy of Cancer

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr James R. Smith and Dr John

Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) is a technique that offers selected targeting of cancer cells (usually brain tumours) by the preferential accumulation of specific boron-containing agents followed by treatment with thermal neutrons. A local nuclear reaction takes places in the cancer cells, producing alpha particles which preferentially kills the cancer cells. BNCT has been around since the 1950s, although there have been problems associated with specific targeting, drug delivery and neutron beam penetration. There has been much renewed interest and in a recent PhD project, we synthesised a couple of carborane compounds tagged to mitochondrial dyes that preferentially targeted cancer cells. We also looked at their formulation into liposomes as nanocarriers. The aim of this project is to extend this work and investigate the efficacy of these and other compounds with various types of cancer cells, including the use of the BNCT reaction.

The project will be carried out within the Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Research Group as part of the Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (IBBS). The student will be trained in a number of techniques including synthetic chemistry, spectroscopy, nanoparticle formulation, fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy, tissue culture, live cell imaging and flow cytometry. The collaborative project will be carried out with our partners at the Kingston University and University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

In addition you will have access to a skills development program run by the university’s Graduate School. The experimental and analytical skills developed during this project will prepare the student well for a future career in academia or industry.

Research Group Web Site http://www.port.ac.uk/school-of-pharmacy-and-biomedical-sciences/research/

Funding Status: Self funded - University fees (currently, £13,100 for International Students and £4,052 for Home and EU students) + (plus additional bench fees of £6,000 per annum).

Search terms: cancer, neurooncology, neuroscience, brain, blood brain barrier, drug delivery, nanoparticles, BNCT.