Development and preclinical validation of tumour-selective PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapeutics and drug delivery systems

Keywords: checkpoint targeting, bispecific antibody, nanoparticles, surface modification, drug-delivery

1st Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands; Duration: 18 months

2nd Hosting institution: Location: InoCure, Prag, Czech Republic; Duration: 18 months


Intended start date: April 2019

Job Description: PhD-student position (3 years): This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project that aims to further develop the targeting of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint for cancer immunotherapy. In brief, a novel bispecific antibody-based approach that selectively removes this important checkpoint at the site of the cancer will be developed. Further, the immunotherapeutic will be formulated using nanotechnology to ensure timely and tumor-localized release of bioactive drug. This approach will be tested in in-house developed model systems for tumor-selective binding and functional immunomodulatory activity.

The PhD candidate will be working as part of an international consortium on their search for an immunotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment and will start their 3 year research project at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) / Netherlands, one of the leading academic centers of the Netherlands, for another 18 months. At the UMCG, new PD-1 checkpoint targeting immunotherapeutic will be developed and preclinically evaluated. After 18 months, the candidate will continue in Prague / Czech Republic at the nanobiotechnology company Inocure SRO. Inocure is a leading company in drug formulation and in in vitro modelling and the candidate will exploit this expertise for further development of PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapeutics. With this project, the candidate will acquire experience in both industrial and academic research. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

This project is part of a collaborative training network of 10 closely related projects in which PhD students will benefit from networking opportunities. This includes a multidisciplinary training programme with network-wide training events that will be provided to the candidates. Herewith, the PhD project will provide the candidate a unique opportunity to obtain knowledge/expertise on important facets of both academia and industry.

Key Responsibilities:



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