Professor Cameron Alexander

PhD, FRSC

Photo of Cameron Alexander

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Job title: Professor of Polymer Therapeutics
Division: School of Pharmacy
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Tags: Fellowship: Established Career, University of Nottingham
Related theme: Healthcare technologies Physical Sciences

Biography

  • Degree and PhD in Chemistry from University of Durham
  • Post-Doc at The Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, University of Cambridge
  • Joined the School of Pharmacy in Nottingham in 2005

My Fellowship

The focus of this Fellowship is triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) which affects 12% of the 1.4 million newly-diagnosed breast cancer cases each year. There are very limited treatments for TNBC because this form of cancer does not express any of the three biomarkers that are targeted by current therapies (including drugs such as Herceptin). In this Fellowship we will target TNBC with new chemotherapeutics which have been specifically designed to operate alongside radiotherapy, to exploit some changes in biology which occur during and after radiation damage. It is estimated that ~ 60% of cancer patients will receive radiotherapy, yet to date, chemotherapeutics have rarely been designed to recognise this clinical fact. The project will therefore explore a new and powerful means to combine radiation and chemistry to target cells which would otherwise evade therapy.

A key part of the Fellowship is to research from the start with radiation biologists and clinicians who work with breast cancer patients, and with pharmaceutical development scientists at AstraZeneca who develop medicines from promising pre-clinical candidates. The Fellowship will give me the time to build a team of scientists at Nottingham such that we collaborate with clinical and industry specialists from the initial early research stages through to real development decisions.

Motivation to apply

This Fellowship offers the opportunity to spend concentrated time in developing a potential therapeutic candidate. Drug development is incredibly complicated even for small molecules, and for complex macromolecular drugs the barriers are very severe. A Fellowship is the right way to look at these problems.

Career benefits of a Fellowship

Having the time to consider all aspects of the therapeutic development process in a Fellowship should be really helpful. I already run a group working in polymer therapeutics, but it isn't always easy linking up projects from different funders and with different students/PDRAs so that one can make a coherent long-term strategy. The Fellowship provides this opportunity.

Advice for future applicants

Talk to a Programme manager at EPSRC. They are always helpful, and can guide you in focusing your proposal to the right area. Competition is always tough, but direct discussion with a Programme Manager can save you a lot of effort, even though there is never a guarantee of funding!