Student Projects

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Development of new bi-functional antibodies for the treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Carcinoma (HNSCC)

This project is flexible for Honours students, Masters students or Medical/clinical students. Head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) is the eighth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, with over 1000 deaths from advanced disease each year. For survivors, toxicity related to treatment of primary and nodal spread in the mouth and/or neck (surgery, radiotherapy, […]

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Enhancing the efficacy of conventional immunotherapies

Some components of this project are suitable for Honours students, flexible for Medical/clinical students and entire project is suitable for PhD students. Members of the Translational Cancer Discovery Group were involved in the original development of denosumab, a monoclonal antibody against RANKL, which is now approved worldwide for the treatment of bone metastasis and multiple […]

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Genetic changes underlying colorectal cancer initiation and progression

In the Conjoint Gastroenterology Laboratory we are interested in characterising the genetic changes underlying the progression of pre-cancerous colonic polyps to colon cancer. We work closely with clinicians specialising in Gastroenterology, Pathology, Oncology and Genetics to increase our understanding of this disease and improve patient management and outcomes. Potential Honours and PhD projects will examine candidate genes for a role in the development of colorectal cancer, selected from bioinformatic analysis of genome-wide data including expression arrays, DNA methylation array profiling and next generation genomic sequencing. Candidate genes will be examined in a clinically and molecularly well-defined series of colorectal polyps and cancers. Functional studies will be conducted in colorectal cancer cell lines and in xenograft models. Projects are also available to examine strategies for pharmacoprevention using our BRAF mutant murine model. Conjoint Gastroenterology

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Colorectal cancer – from genetics to chemoprevention

This project will use a well-developed in vivo model to investigate the role of various drugs in the prevention of bowel cancer. Using an inducible BRAF mutant mouse, we have observed the sequential development of intestinal hyperplasia, polyps and ultimately advanced cancer, in a model that closely mimics human serrated neoplasia. This project will investigate […]

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Combining epigenetic drugs with immunotherapy in melanoma

Whereas advances in immune and targeted therapies have made tremendous progress recently they are effective only in distinct subsets of patient’s or result in the emergence of drug resistance. Also, the prohibitive cost of immunotherapy can be overcome by therapy that uses relatively inexpensive small molecules. Patients suffer considerable side effects and these may be […]

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Therapeutic opportunities targeting epigenetic-metabolism crosstalks in cancer

Epigenetic and metabolic pathways in cancer cells are highly interconnected. Epigenetic landscape in cancer cells is modified by oncogene-driven metabolic changes. Metabolites modulate the activities of epigenetic modifying enzymes to regulate the expression of specific genes.  Conversely, epigenetic deregulation that occurs in cancer affect the expression of metabolic genes, thereby altering the metabolome. These changes […]

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Determining the therapeutic efficacy of epigenetic drugs in ovarian cancer

Because cancer and many diseases arise from a combination of genetic propensity and the response of cells to external factors mediated through changes to the expression of key genes, it is important to understand epigenetic regulation. The epigenome is crucial to the changes of gene expression and there is now strong evidence that epigenetic alterations […]

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Investigating the anti-cancer activity of the Epoxytigliane family

Previous work performed by the Drug Discovery Group, together with QBiotics Ltd. (an Australian based biotech company situated in North Queensland), has led to the identification of a family of natural products (the Epoxytigliane family) with significant anti-cancer potential. Intratumoural injection of the prototypical member of this family, tigilanol tiglate (also known as TT or […]

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Cellular immunotherapy – engineering “custom built” cells to treat cancer

This project is suited for a Master’s or PhD work and is flexible for clinical students. Current standard approaches for the treatment of human cancers typically employ broad acting radiotherapeutic and chemotherapeutic approaches. There has been growing interest in approaches using immunotherapy with adoptive cell transfer (ACT): using patient’s immune cells to treat their cancer. […]

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