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Gadolinium complexes as new theranostic agents for brain cancer


The 5-year survival rate for patients afflicted with aggressive and intractable brain tumours (gliomas) is less than 4%.  In this project, we will incorporate Gd3+ ions into mitochondrial-targeting agents in order to localise the metal ion near a critical sub-cellular organelle for application in binary therapies such as photon activation therapy (PAT) and neutron capture therapy (NCT).  We have already demonstrated substantial and selective brain tumour tumour cell destruction in the presence of a prototype Gd agent and synchrotron X-ray photons, the first time that GdPAT experiments have ever been conducted in Australia using the new Imaging and Medical Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron.  The use of Gd agents to target tumour cell mitochondria would open up new vistas in binary cancer therapies, with potential imaging applications in MRI.


Professor Louis Rendina.

Research location

School of Chemistry

Program type



Our research group has a strong interest in the medicinal chemistry of p-block (e.g. boron) and f-block (e.g. gadolinium) elements, with an emphasis on new drug design for the treatment of intractable and aggressive cancers, particularly those of the brain. In recent years, we have made considerable advances in the design and development of medicinal agents for neutron and X-ray photon applications. This project would ideally suit those students who have an interest in medicinal chemistry and synthetic inorganic/organic chemistry.

Additional information

Graduate scholarships are available for high quality students. All local students in the Rendina laboratory are supported by an Australian or University Postgraduate Award, and International students are supported by other scholarships.  Please contact A/Prof. Rendina for further details.

HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1498

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