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Characterizing tumor-stroma interactions for the design of cancer effective treatments S&T47

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: S&T47

In the proposed project we are going to explore the role of tumor surrounding microenvironment on the induction of epithelial oncogenesis. To this end, the secretome of cancer and stromal cells (fibroblasts, endothelial and T cells) will be analyzed in order to study tumor-stroma interactions that occur in both directions. A high-throughput protein analysis system, in the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, will be employed. It is a multiplex sandwich ELISA system that enables the detection and quantification of up to 500 analytes simultaneously (cytokines and growth factors) in a single sample volume. We have already produced preliminary data and performed a high-throughput growth factor and cytokine analysis, on normal and malignant hepatocytes. We have also performed a transcriptomic and pathway analysis and identified molecular networks that potentially regulate liver cancer progression and the recruitment of immune cells towards cancer. In this project we aim to mechanistically characterize these networks, study their function in vitro and in vivo and eventually explore the therapeutic potentials. In addition, we plan to follow a similar approach to investigate the interactions of pancreatic malignant epithelial cells and fibroblasts. “Antistromal” therapy has failed and the concept that tumor stroma functions to support tumor growth has been questioned, following the recent demonstration that some components of the stroma can act to restrain cancer growth. Thus, decoding the secretome of cancer is necessary for the understanding of cancer progression and the designing of novel effective therapeutics.

School strategic research priority

This project is strongly aligned with two strategic themes, Medical Technologies and Advanced Materials, and Health and Wellbeing.
Since the project is engineering oriented in which a novel wearable medical device will be developed, it also aligns with the Imaging, Materials and Engineering Centre.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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