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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


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Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Christchurch)
Dr Kenny Chitcholtan


Prostate cancer is a leading cause of mortality in New Zealand men.

Initial standard treatment with cytotoxic and targeted drugs suppresses tumour regression for a long time. However, drug-resistant prostate cancer cells emerge and are less likely to respond to the same treatment. As such, metastatic drug-resistant prostate cancer is prevalent, and unfortunately, a limited treatment option is available.

The alternative approach would be using known medications from other diseases to treat prostate cancer. The novel concept of drug repurposing has received significant attention in oncology in recent years.

In this project, we want to investigate three well-known compounds, deferasirox (DFX), chloroquine (CHQ) and Zinc (Zn), in suppressing the growth and viability of prostate cancer in a 3D cell culture model.

DFX is a clinically approved iron-chelating agent, CHQ is an anti-malarial drug to treat malaria and chronic inflammation, and Zn is an essential mineral that demonstrates specific anti-growth in prostate cancer.

As a part of a well established Gynaecological Cancer Research Group, a student will learn cutting-edge cell biology and biochemical techniques. These techniques will be included cell culture, 3D cell culture model, immunofluorescence with a confocal microscope and western blot.

Preferred student expertise

Candidate should have a strong background in cell biology and biochemistry.

Further information

This is one of a number of projects on offer for the 2023 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences with Honours

Dr Kenny Chitcholtan


Dr Kenny Chitcholtan

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