James Coates, DPhil

Department of Oncology

Investigating the effects of radiosensitising drugs when combined with particle radiation

James Coates completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical & Biomedical Engineering at McGill University. He then completed an MSc in Radiation Biology at Oxford before pursuing his DPhil at Oxford in Radiation Oncology & Biology.

What’s your current research and how could it impact patients?

Tumour hypoxia is a well-recognised barrier to anti-cancer therapy. It represents one of the best-validated targets in oncology. Previous attempts to tackle hypoxia have focussed primarily on increasing tumour oxygen supply; however, clinical studies using this approach have yielded only modest clinical efficacy. As a result, there are currently no anti-hypoxia treatments in widespread clinical use. As an emerging alternative strategy, my team pioneered the use of inhibitors of oxygen metabolism in order to alleviate hypoxia. My doctoral work specifically focuses on combining such agents with commonly used chemotherapies.

What does being involved in cancer research mean to you?

Recognising the potential to drastically change classically-accepted treatment paradigms requiring me to think about the biology as well as the clinical viability at all times – the perfect match!

And finally, what do you do outside of your studies?

I will be moving to Harvard in 2020 as a Research Fellow to continue my cancer research!