2023 New Treatment Grant - Dr Robert Chapman

Polymer mimics of the TRAIL protein for pancreatic cancer

Dr Robert Chapman is the lead investigator


Polymer mimics of the TRAIL protein for pancreatic cancer


2023 New Treatment Accelerator Grant


The University of Newcastle

Principal Investigator

Dr Robert Chapman

Time required to complete project

2 years

Project Summary

The TRAIL protein, which triggers a self-destruct mechanism in cancer cells, has long been considered a promising drug for pancreatic cancer. However, TRAIL has failed all clinical trials to date due to poor circulation times in the blood and low bioavailability. We have discovered a way to create synthetic mimics of TRAIL that replicate its activity, but from materials that show ~100-fold increased circulation times and greater stability. This project will develop these synthetic mimics into potent and selective drug leads for pancreatic cancer, which sidestep the biological barriers that have prevented the clinical adoption of TRAIL to date.

Dr Thomas Fallon, University of Newcastle
Prof Kristopher Thurecht, University of Queensland
Prof Martina Stenzel, University of New South Wales