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Mar 2020 - Mar 2023

Towards personalised medicine: biological evaluation of novel Mre11 inhibitors for cancer treatment


Jack Owen


North Wales

Funding Amount



Dr Edgar Hartsuiker

Cancer Type


Funding Type




Research Type


This PhD is part funded through the Knowledge and Economy Skills Scholarship 2 Programme which you can find out more about here 

Certain drug treatments destroy cancer cells by damaging the cell’s DNA, but sometimes our body uses its own DNA repair pathways (such as a protein called Mre11) to repair the damage which prevents the drug from doing its job. We can stop Mre11 from working using an inhibitor drug, however, the only Mre11 inhibitors available currently do not react well with the body and are therefore unsuitable for clinical use.

Martina Salerno, a Tenovus Cancer Care funded KESS2 PhD student who started this work, has found several new Mre11 inhibitors that work well in sensitising cancer cells to a particular drug treatment called Irinotecan.

Jack’s PhD project will focus on investigating how effective these new Mre11 inhibitors are by testing them on several different cancer cells. It is hoped that these inhibitors are effective in causing cancer cell death upon treatment with other DNA damaging drugs as well as Irinotecan. If so, there is significant potential that these inhibitors could be used in cancer treatments in the future.

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