Novel combination therapies for the treatment of cancer

University of Strathclyde

Past award

Student: David Scott

Year Award Started: 2015

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and the rates of new cancer cases are set to further increase as the population ages. Despite heavy R&D investment by pharma allowing many new drugs to become clinically available, many cancers still remain incurable, meaning new ways of treating such cancers are still urgently required. One such approach is to repurpose existing drugs, so that when they are given as new combinations, enhanced clinical benefit is realised. Combination therapies often act together to give superior killing effects unrealisable with single agents and can provide additional clinical advantages such as sensitising tumours to radiotherpy, which is used to treat 40% of cancers. However there are currently logistical problems in delivering combinations of agents to the tumour at the right proportion and at the right time to maximise radiosensitisation. This PhD project will investigate the generation of a new delivery system which encorporates several anticancer drugs which have been shown to act synergistically to provide effective radiochemotherapy. The delivery system will allow the drugs to be administered as a liquid into an area of solid tumour or into the cavity of a resected tumour, before the system solidifies to provide a solid matrix. This intimate contact allows superior killing of cancer cells and at the same time allows controlled release of agents to the tumour over a prolonged period of time, thereby enhancing tumour kill and sensitising surviving cancer cells to radiotherapy. This will represent a new class of cancer treatments with an opportunity for rapid progress to the clinic.

Research area: Cancer


Professor Alexander Mullen
Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Dr Marie Boyd
Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Medac GmbH