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Drug Development

Cancer ResearchNew drugs and treatments are vital to reach our aim of helping the people of Yorkshire avoid, survive, and cope with cancer. We have a long history of supporting breakthroughs in cancer treatment such as Tamoxifen and are currently supporting research into the newest treatments for a range of cancers, including chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapy drugs, and drugs to prevent tumours feeding themselves from the body’s blood supply.



Cancer ResearchDevelopment of activation specific integrin antagonists as enhanced anticancer therapeutics

The surface of cells are covered with proteins that allow them to adhere to one another and recognise their surroundings. A particular type of cell surface protein – called β3 integrin – is abnormally active in tumours such as melanoma, causing cancer growth and spread locally and through the bloodstream. There are currently no effective treatments for melanoma beyond surgery and this project aimed to develop a new treatment for advanced melanoma by targeting these cell surface proteins.


  • Principal investigator: Professor Laurence Patterson and Dr Helen Sheldrake
  • University of Bradford
  • Award amount: £51,960
  • October 2011 – September 2014



Cancer ResearchExploiting cancer cell metabolism to alter PARP activity selectively in cancer cells

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy kill cancer cells by inflicting DNA damage and overwhelming the capacity of the cell to repair this damage. However, healthy cells can also be damaged which can produce harmful side effects. This project exploited a fundamental difference in the way cancer and non-cancer cells obtain metabolise energy to reduce the effectiveness of DNA repair in cancer cells. This strategy has the potential to increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy and chemotherapy with fewer harmful side effects.


  • Principal investigator: Dr Simon J Allison
  • University of Bradford
  • Award amount: £126, 671
  • October 2012 – September 2014



Cancer ResearchA Tumour Penetrating Drug Delivery Vehicle

Many chemotherapy drugs do not get distributed around the body very effectively. These drugs need to be delivered intravenously over the course of many hours to build up an effective dose in the body. This is inconvenient and distressing for many patients. One exception is temozolomide, a drug used to treat brain tumours, which can be taken as a tablet and gets distributed easily around the body. Researchers at the University of Bradford are seeking to modify this drug so that it can “carry” other chemotherapy drugs around the body more easily. This will allow these drugs to be taken more rapidly.


  • Principal investigator: Dr Richard Wheelhouse and Dr Roger Phillips
  • University of Bradford
  • Award amount: £184,612
  • October 2012 – September 2015



Cancer ResearchPrevention of tumour regrowth and spread after chemotherapy by inhibiting tumour repair by macrophages

With inoperable cancers, like those in the lung or brain, treatment with chemotherapy can be successful at shrinking the tumour, but is often accompanied by regrowth of the cancer with increasing resistance to chemotherapy with each round of treatment. Professor Lewis’ group in Sheffield have identified that white blood cells, macrophages, are abundant in chemotherapy-treated tumours and stimulate tumour regrowth and spread. This project will develop a new therapy to selectively target and destroy macrophages in tumours after chemotherapy, thereby preventing tumour regrowth.


  • Principal investigator: Professor Claire Lewis
  • University of Sheffield
  • Award amount: £218,205
  • February 2015 – January 2018



Cancer ResearchCancer Medicines Discovery II

Two major goals in cancer medicine discovery are to find ways to selectively target only cancer cells and to stop cancer from spreading. By investigating the differences between cancer cells and normal cells, drugs can be developed that will only be active in cancer cells. This will reduce the risk of side effects in treatment. Drugs can also be developed which inhibit the movement of cancer cells to prevent cancer spread.


  • Principal investigator: Professor Laurence Patterson and Professor Chris Twelves
  • University of Bradford
  • Award amount: £1,546,536
  • September 2014 – August 2019