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Contract research services

The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics (ICT) provides industry clients with advanced research services focused on development of cancer therapeutics ranging from drug discovery, progression of pharmacology of preclinical candidates through to clinical evaluation. ICT academic staff members are highly experienced in leading and delivering projects in preclinical drug development and clinical progression, their scientific know-how and expertise has been shared, through contract research programs, with numerous industry partners from small biotechnology companies to large pharmaceutical multinationals and other prestigious research institutes worldwide.


List of ICT services

Reasons to choose ICT as your research service provider to progress your drug candidates

  • Support provided from drug design through to phase I clinical trials
  • Excellent academic input from experienced and knowledgeable leaders in their field
  • Broad range of excellent facilities, equipment and services
  • Dedicated research delivery staff providing regular contact during the program of work
  • Close links with clinical trial centres
  • Formulation expertise for enhanced drug delivery
  • Close links with Ethical Tissue-a licensed research tissue bank

ICT Offers Advanced Contract Research Services in the following areas:

Medicinal Chemistry Services

We have expertise in a range of areas including:

  • Parallel and library synthesis
  • Improving pharmaceutical properties
  • Computer aided drug design
  • Scale up
  • Stable isotope labelling
  • Multiple step synthesis
  • Lead optimisation
  • Structure identification

Further information on Medicinal chemistry facilities and research teams

Lab in Institute of Cancer Therapeutics.

Analytical method development and bioanalysis

We have considerable experience in analytical method development using HPLC and LC-MS/MS and are expert in the bio-analysis of drugs and their metabolites.

Our experienced scientists have studied a wide range of clinically available and novel small molecules including anti-metabolites, platinating and alkylating agents, peptides and anti-vascular compounds and a range of macromolecules.

The use of LC-MS/MS allows rapid and sensitive analysis of clinical samples to a high standard, which can also be performed under  GCP conditions in our dedicyaed laboratories. 

 Our analytical facilities include:

  • A variety of HPLC kits
  • Single quadrupole mass spectrometer (LC-MS)
  • Two triple quadrupole mass spectrometers (LC-MS/MS)
  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Nano HPLC
  • MALDI mass spectrometry.  

 We have considerable expertise in method development for the analysis of:

Small molecules

Fatty acids, prostaglandins and other lipid mediators 


Macromolecule (polymers)

Prostaglandin Analysis 

In collaboration with Professor Mark Hull at the University of Leeds, we have developed specific and highly sensitive methods for analysing specific prostaglandins and their metabolites using LC-MS/MS.  

PGE-M    Methods are available for the analysis of, in particular tetranor- Prostaglandin E Metabolite (PGE-M), often used as a biomarker of PGE1 and PGE2 synthesis.  We would be pleased to analyse urinary PGE-M levels for colleagues in academia and industry.

PGI-M and TX-M    We are currently developing similar methods for Prostaglandin I Metabolite (PGI-M) and Thromboxane metabolite (TX-M).

For further information regarding ICTs method development and bioanalysis services please contact Prof Paul Loadman

scientist at LCMS instrument ICT

Preclinical Drug Screening and Evaluation

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics have considerable expertise in preclinical pharmacology, especially in the cancer field.

We have performed collaborative research with numerous companies over many years and have an excellent reputation for deliverying high quality research for our commercial partners:

Our key areas of expertise include:

  • Target identification and characterisation
  • Cellular Cytotoxicity
  • Cellular growth inhibition evaluation
  • Evaluation of tumour dissemination processes
  • Tumour xenograft models
  • Hollow fibre assay
  • Site specific tumours
  • Cell lines & xenografts


For further information regarding the ICTs preclinical pharmacology services please contact Dr Steve Shnyder

Laboratory preclinical

Target Identification and Characterisation

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Tissue and tumour arrays
  • Gene expression
  • Tumour/normal differential expression evaluation
  • Development of genetically modified experimental models
  • Drug-target interaction evaluation
  • Analysis of molecular pharmacology of drug action

Cellular Cytotoxicity

  • MTT/SRB microplate cytotoxicity assays
  • Clonogenic assay
  • Tumour versus normal cell response
  • Drug response in three-dimensional tumour spher

Cellular Growth Inhibition Evaluation

  • Cell cycle analysis
  • Apoptosis/cell death induction
  • Mechanistic studies

Evaluation of tumour dissemination processes

  • Cell adhesion assay
  • Cell migration assay
  • Cell invasion assay
  • Cell angiogenesis assay
  • Both 2D and 3D models


Tumour Xenograft Models

  • Human and other tumour cell lines
  • High expression vs. low/negative expression
  • Isogenic tumour models 
  • Direct measurement of anti-tumour response
  • Tumour vasculature analysis
  • Histological analysis
  • Biochemical analysis
  • Assessment of tumourigenicity
  • Efficacy and PK/PD analysis of small molecules
  • Efficacy and PK/PD analysis of biologics
Histology image

Hollow Fibre Assay

We evaluate:

  • Anti-proliferative activity
  • Pharmacodynamic endpoints
  • Drug effects in non-tumourigenic cell lines
  • Vascular targeting agents

Site Specific Tumours

We evaluate:

  • Response  in specific site e.g. colon
  • Response at site of metastasis e.g. liver, lung

Cell lines and xenograft models

ICT scientists have access to an extensive range of human tumour cell lines.  These cell lines are available for use in in vitro assays with many having been validated for use as subcutaneous xenograft models for efficacy studies.

Cell lines and xenograft models are available for various cancer types including:

  • Bladder
  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Melanoma
  • Ovarian
  • Prostate
  • Pancreas
  • Renal
  • SCLC

In addition we have murine colon adenocarcinoma (MAC) models available.

For more information regarding our expertise in preclinical pharmacology visit:

Cell image ICT

Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

ICT has an experienced Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetic (DMPK) Team, led by Prof Paul Loadman, who have worked on numerous contract research projects with industrial partners within efficient and well-resourced GCLP accredited laboratories. The team undertake analytical method development (LCMSMS) and a range of bioavailability and pharmacokinetic studies from simple evaluation of parent molecule in plasma to full ADME and tissue distribution.

Advantages of working with the DMPK team at ICT:

  • Excellent knowledge and experience in this area- expert opinion from leading academics
  • GLP accredited laboratories and high quality research and reporting
  • Projects are managed to meet commercial timelines and we ensure our partners are fully updated on progress

Examples of studies include the analysis of complex metabolic profiles and the development of analytical methods for the PK analysis of highly reactive and potent molecules in the picomolar range.

We have also successfully monitored low concentrations of highly potent metabolites and pharmacodynamic markers in small clinical biopsy samples as in a recent Phase I clinical trial.

We offer expertise in the following areas:

  • Pharmacokinetic evaluation of preclinical tissue samples
  • Pharmacodynamic evaluation of preclinical tissue samples
  • Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic evaluation of clinical samples
Scientists in laboratory ICT

GCLP Clinical Trials Support

The Institute, through its Clinical Director and the Leeds Cancer Medicine Centre, has a strong association with major clinical and translational centres in Yorkshire.  The Bradford/Leeds collaboration provides a network of experienced oncologists covering early phase tumour site specific clinical research with state-of-the-art facilities.  We integrate with world class pre-clinical and translational research scientists and hold a pivotal position within local, national and international clinical research networks.

We collaborate with:

  • Academic Department of Medical Oncology, University of Leeds
  • Clinical Cancer Centre, St James's University Hospital, Leeds


St James Hospital Leeds

We have access to the following major regional clinical resources:

  • Third largest cancer centre in the UK
  • Full range of multidisciplinary teams covering all aspects of oncology
  • Over 40 oncologists locally
  • Dedicated clinical research ward and clinical research team

A core drug development team has been established within the region allowing access to a range of skills and expertise:

The specific group of activities include:

  • Early clinical trials
  • Pre-clinical pharmacology
  • Clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics


We integrate with site specific teams by:

  • Close collaboration between early phase clinical team in Leeds
  • Tumour specific phase I and II studies conducted with lead clinician for tumour type

GCP Pharmacology Laboratories

  • Two controlled access laboratories
  • Established Quality Assurance programme in line with CR-UK/ECMC national standards
  • Over 100 Standard Operating Procedures
  • Audited by CR-UK and pharm

For further information regarding the ICTs GCLP laboratories and clinical trials support please contact Prof Paul Loadman

Clinical Pharmacology

We offer the following clinical support:

  • Access to Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre at St James's University Hospital, Leeds
  • Dedicated Cancer Research UK clinical research ward and clinical research team
  • Close collaboration between early phase clinical team in Leeds (ECMC)
  • Tumour specific phase I and II studies conducted with lead tumour type clinician
  • GCLP Pharmacology Laboratories
ICT building