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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Khaw Wei Ting


  Chemistry, Girton College

  PhD thesis: Development of conditional labile linkers to target the stroma of
  pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)



Research interests:

  1. Targeted Therapeutics
  2. Prodrugs
  3. Oncology
  4. Drug Delivery

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer with abysmal prognosis and mortality. The weak response to curative treatment accounts for the devastating survival rate; hence, my PhD aims to address this issue using targeted therapeutics. Presently, the biggest hurdle lies in the accessibility of existing chemotherapy to neoplastic epithelium of the stroma due to the unique intratumoral pressure in the extracellular matrix. My project, therefore, focuses on overcoming this high barrier of drug delivery with the development of conditional labile linkers to target the stroma. The bulk of the project involves the design of this prodrug model followed by validation from in vitro/ in vivo testing.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

Having witnessed the ravaging effects of chemotherapy, I grew a natural interest in both drug specificity and patient safety. Promiscuous drugs have always been one of the biggest pitfalls in drug development. Curative treatments like chemotherapy tread the fine line between a panacea and poison; promising drugs in the research phase fall out of the pipeline due to undesired side interactions. Hence, I've always been passionate about solving this issue and, consequently, targeted therapeutics.