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Professor Klaus Pors

Professor of Chemical Biology

Faculty/Dept/School School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 236482


Klaus Pors graduated with a BEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern Denmark (Odense, Denmark) in 1998 and completed his studies in Medicinal Chemistry at the UCL School of Pharmacy in 2002. Both his PhD and Postdoc (UCL School of Pharmacy 2002-05) was focused on the discovery of anticancer agents and hypoxia-activated prodrugs to treat solid tumours. In 2005 he relocated to Bradford to take up a Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded lecturer and team leader position at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics with focus on the discovery of tumour-selective therapies. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2013 and to Professor of Chemical Biology in 2021.


Research in the Pors group is focussed on research at the interface between chemistry and biology. Traditional approaches to drug discovery such as target oriented synthesis and medicinal chemistry are used to develop focussed libraries of small molecules that are entirely new chemical entities or re-engineered versions of natural products. In addition, his group uses diversity-oriented synthesis to generate collections of small molecules of structural diverse architecture, which can be used to probe new chemical space or known biological pathways that are not well understood. In the context of cancer, novel therapeutics are designed to (i) exploit enzymatic and/or physiological conditions found unique to the tumour microenvironment or (ii) circumvent or exploit resistance mechanisms present in malignant tissue. Specific projects include:

1) Development of tumour-selective prodrugs using bio-oxidative or bioreductive mode of activation.

2) Development of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) inhibitors and prodrug derivatives.

3) Development of aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) inhibitors and prodrug derivatives.

4) Development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs)

In addition, our group is also interested in developing molecular fluorescent probes that can be used to stain fixed or live cells with wide applications in routine and research laboratories utilising flow cytometry and fluorescence imaging methods.

Current research team include: Dr Sneha Swaroop (research fellow), postgraduate students Elisabet Battle, Zoë Jukes, Enric Arasanz Picher,  Abdullahi Magaji Dauda, Enrica Denasio and Sam MacKenzie (intern student from York). 

Our research us supported by Breast Cancer Now, Secondary1st, The Schlumberger Foundation, Kidscan, ICT Doctoral Training Centre and University of Bradford (International Development Fund).


Teaching interests

Cancer Research

Chemical Biology

Drug Discovery

Drug Metabolism


Fluorophores for imaging and tracking


Medicinal Chemistry

Stem Cells

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-02: UCL - PhD
  • 01-JAN-98: University of Southern Denmark - BEng

  • External Examiner: External Examiner, BSc Biopharmaceutical Science, University of Sunderland (2015-)
  • External Examiner: External Examiner, MSc in Drug Design and Discovery, University of Salford (2015-19)
  • Guest Lecturer: Guest Lecturer (2013-), "Chemistry in Drug Discovery", Ecole Superieure de Chimie Organique et Minerale (ESCOM, Paris, France)
  • Guest Lecturer: Guest Lecturer (2013-2017), in "Cancer Drug Discovery", The Department of Science and Drug Technologies, University of Torino (Italy)
  • Editor: Editor, CICR Editorial Board (AACR, 2012-2016); Past Editor
  • Past Executive Member: British Association for Cancer Research (BACR), past executive committee member (2008-11)
  • Elected Member: Elected member of the EPSRC peer review college (2016-)
  • Elected Member: Elected member of the British Council, Newton Schemes (2016-)
  • Reviewer (Grants): Ad-hoc grant reviewer for research councils and charities (MRC, EPSRC, AICR, Breast Cancer Now, Prostate Cancer UK)


TitleGenetic variation in the ADIPOQ gene and serum adiponectin increase the risk of bladder cancer. (2022)
AuthorsElsalem L;Alfaqih MA;Al Bashir S;Halalsheh O;Basheer HA;Mhedat K;Khader Y;Pors K;
JournalJournal of Applied Biomedicine
TitleExpansion of the 4-(Diethylamino)benzaldehyde Scaffold to Explore the Impact on Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Activity and Antiproliferative Activity in Prostate Cancer (2022)
AuthorsAli I M Ibrahim, Elisabet Batlle, Smarakan Sneha, Rafael Jiménez, Raquel Pequerul, Xavier Parés, Till Rüngeler, Vibhu Jha, Tiziano Tuccinardi, Maria Sadiq, Fiona Frame, Norman J Maitland, Jaume Farrés, Klaus Pors
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
TitleThe Chemerin-CMKLR1 Axis is Functionally important for Central Regulation of Energy Homeostasis (2022)
AuthorsYun, H: Dumbell, R: Hanna, K: Bowen, J; McLean, SL; Kantamneni, S; Pors, K; Wu, QF; Helfer, G
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
TitleNew Aldo-Keto Reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) inhibitors based on the hydroxytriazole scaffold (2022)
AuthorsAgnese Chiara Pippione, Zühal Kilic-Kurt, Sandra Kovachka, Stefano Sainas, Barbara Rolando, Enrica Denasio, Klaus Pors, Salvatore Adinolfi, Daniele Zonari, Renzo Bagnati, Marco Lucio Lolli, Francesca Spyrakis, Simonetta Oliaro-Bosso1 and Donatella Boschi
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
TitleIn vitro radiosensitization of breast cancer with hypoxia-activated prodrugs. (2022)
AuthorsAiyappa-Maudsley R;Elsalem L;Ibrahim AIM;Pors K;Martin SG;
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
TitleCytochrome P450 isoforms 1A1, 1B1 AND 2W1 as targets for therapeutic intervention in head and neck cancer. (2021)
AuthorsPresa D;Khurram SA;Zubir AZA;Smarakan S;Cooper PA;Morais GR;Sadiq M;Sutherland M;Loadman PM;McCaul J;Shnyder SD;Patterson LH;Pors K;
JournalScientific Reports
TitleCytochrome P450 Binding and Bioactivation of Tumor-targeted Duocarmycin Agents. (2021)
AuthorsBart AG;Morais G;Vangala VR;Loadman PM;Pors K;Scott EE;
JournalDrug Metabolism And Disposition: The Biological Fate Of Chemicals
TitleIntratumoural Cytochrome P450 Expression in Breast Cancer: Impact on Standard of Care Treatment and New Efforts to Develop Tumour-Selective Therapies. (2021)
AuthorsSneha S;Baker SC;Green A;Storr S;Aiyappa R;Martin S;Pors K;
TitleHow can the potential of the duocarmycins be unlocked for cancer therapy? (2021)
AuthorsJukes Z;Morais GR;Loadman PM;Pors K;
JournalDrug Discovery Today
TitleProbing cytochrome P450 (CYP) bioactivation with chloromethylindoline bioprecursors derived from the duocarmycin family of compounds. (2021)
AuthorsOrtuzar N;Karu K;Presa D;Morais GR;Sheldrake HM;Shnyder SD;Barnieh FM;Loadman PM;Patterson LH;Pors K;Searcey M;
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
TitleDesign, Synthesis, Biological Evaluation and In Silico Study of Benzyloxybenzaldehyde Derivatives as Selective ALDH1A3 Inhibitors. (2021)
AuthorsIbrahim AIM;Ikhmais B;Batlle E;AbuHarb WK;Jha V;Jaradat KT;Jiménez R;Pequerul R;Parés X;Farrés J;Pors K;
TitleAldehyde Dehydrogenases and Prostate Cancer: Shedding Light on Isoform Distribution to Reveal Druggable Target. (2020)
AuthorsQuattrini L;Sadiq M;Petrarolo G;Maitland NJ;Frame FM;Pors K;La Motta C;
TitleExploration of [2 + 2 + 2] cyclotrimerisation methodology to prepare tetrahydroisoquinoline-based compounds with potential aldo-keto reductase 1C3 target affinity (2019)
AuthorsSantos A.;Sheldrake H.;Ibrahim A.;Danta C.;Bonanni D.;Daga M.;Oliaro-Bosso S.;Boschi D.;Lolli M.;Pors K.
TitleMultigram scale synthesis of polycyclic lactones and evaluation of antitumor and other biological properties. (2019)
AuthorsGrau L;Romero M;Privat-Contreras C;Presa D;Viñas M;Morral J;Pors K;Rubio-Martinez J;Pujol MD;
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
TitleSynthesis and biological properties of aryl methyl sulfones. (2018)
AuthorsNavarro L;Rosell G;Sánchez S;Boixareu N;Pors K;Pouplana R;Campanera JM;Pujol MD;
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
TitleProbing cytochrome P450 bioactivation and fluorescent properties with morpholinyl-tethered anthraquinones (2018)
AuthorsErrington, R.J.; Sadiq, M.; Cosentino, L.; Wiltshire, M.; Sadiq, O.; Sini, Marcella; Lizano, E.; Pujol, M.D.; Ribeiro Morais, Goreti; Pors, Klaus
TitlePotent and selective aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) inhibitors based on the benzoisoxazole moiety: application of a bioisosteric scaffold hopping approach to flufenamic acid. (2018)
AuthorsPippione AC;Carnovale IM;Bonanni D;Sini M;Goyal P;Marini E;Pors K;Adinolfi S;Zonari D;Festuccia C;Wahlgren WY;Friemann R;Bagnati R;Boschi D;Oliaro-Bosso S;Lolli ML
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
TitleExpression and regulation of aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) in prostate cancer (2018)
AuthorsIbrahim AIM; Sadiq M; Frame F; Maitland NJ; Pors K
JournalJournal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment
PublisherOAE Publishing Inc
TitleCurrent challenges and opportunities in treating hypoxic prostate tumors (2018)
AuthorsMcKenna DJ; Errington R; Pors K
JournalJournal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment
TitleAndrogen-AR axis in primary and metastatic prostate cancer: chasing steroidogenic enzymes for therapeutic intervention (2017)
AuthorsPippione AC; Boschi D; Pors K; Oliaro-Bosso S; Lolli ML
JournalJournal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment
PublisherOAE Publishing Inc
TitleHydroxytriazole derivatives as potent and selective aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) inhibitors discovered by bioisosteric scaffold hopping approach (2017)
AuthorsPippione, A.C.; Giraudo, A.; Bonanni, D.; Carnovale, I.M.; Marini, E.; Cena, C.; Costale, A.; Zonari, D.; Pors, Klaus; Sadiq, Maria; Boschi, D.; Oliaro-Bosso, S.; Lolli, M.L.
TitleTherapeutic antibodies against cancer stem cells: a promising approach. (2017)
AuthorsSneha S;Nagare RP;Priya SK;Sidhanth C;Pors K;Ganesan TS;
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
TitleMitoxantrone and Analogues Bind and Stabilize i-Motif Forming DNA Sequences (2016)
AuthorsWright, E.P.; Day, H.A.; Ibrahim, Ali M.; Kumar, Jeethendra; Boswell, L.J.E.; Huguin, C.; Stevenson, C.E.M.; Pors, Klaus
TitleRational development of novel activity probes for the analysis of human cytochromes P450 (2016)
AuthorsSellars, J.D.; Skipsey, M.; Sadr-ul-Shaheed; Gravell, Sebastian; Abumansour, Hamza M.A.; Kashtl, Ghasaq; Irfan, Jawaria; Khot, Mohamed; Pors, Klaus; Patterson, Laurence H.; Sutton, Chris W.
TitlePolysialic acid sustains cancer cell survival and migratory capacity in a hypoxic environment (2016)
AuthorsElkashef, Sara M.; Allison, Simon J.; Sadiq, Maria; Basheer, Haneen A.; Ribeiro Morais, Goreti; Loadman, Paul M.; Pors, Klaus; Falconer, Robert A.
JournalScientific Reports
TitleSolid-phase synthesis of duocarmycin analogues and the effect of C-terminal substitution on biological activity (2015)
AuthorsStephenson, M.J.; Howell, L.A.; O'Connell, M.A.; Fox, K.R.; Adcock, C.; Kingston, J.; Sheldrake, Helen M.; Pors, Klaus; Collingwood, S.P.; Searcey, M.
TitleProbing cytochrome P450-mediated activation with a truncated azinomycin analogue (2015)
AuthorsVinader, Victoria; Sadiq, Maria; Sutherland, Mark H.; Huang, M.Y.; Loadman, Paul M.; Elsalem, Lina M.I.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Cui, H.J.; Afarinkia, Kamyar; Searcey, M.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Pors, Klaus
TitleRefining the chemical toolbox to be fit for educational and practical purpose for drug discovery in the 21st Century (2015)
AuthorsLolli, M.L.; Narramore, S.; Fishwick, C.W.; Pors, Klaus
TitleThe dual-acting chemotherapeutic agent Alchemix induces cell death independently of ATM and p53 (2015)
AuthorsThomas, A.; Perry, T.; Berhane, S.; Oldreive, C.; Zlatanou, A.; Williams, L.R.; Weston, V.J.; Stankovic, T.; Kearns, P.; Pors, Klaus; Grand, R.J.; Stewart, G.S.
TitleAldehyde dehydrogenases in cancer: an opportunity for biomarker and drug development? (2014)
AuthorsPors, Klaus; Moreb, J.S.
TitleQuantitative analysis of cytochrome P450 isoforms in human liver microsomes by the combination of proteomics and chemical probe-based assay (2014)
AuthorsLiu, X.; Hu, L.; Ge, G.; Yang, B.; Ning, J.; Sun, S.; Yang, L.; Pors, Klaus; Gu, J.
TitleKinetic analysis of intracellular Hoechst 33342-DNA interactions by flow cytometry: Misinterpretation of side population status? (2013)
AuthorsSmith P.;Wiltshire M.;Chappell S.;Cosentino L.;Burns P.;Pors K.;Errington R.
JournalCytometry Part A
TitleCYP2W1 polymorphism: Functional aspects and relation to risk for colorectal cancer (2013)
AuthorsStenstedt K.;Travica S.;Guo J.;Barragan I.;Pors K.;Patterson L.;Edler D.;Mkrtchian S.;Johansson I.;Ingelman-Sundberg M.
TitleAntitumor activity of a duocarmycin analogue rationalized to be metabolically activated by cytochrome P450 1A1 in human transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder (2013)
AuthorsSutherland, Mark H.; Gill, Jason H.; Loadman, Paul M.; Laye, Jonathan P.; Sheldrake, Helen M.; Illingworth, Nicola A.; Alandas, Mohammed N.; Cooper, Patricia A.; Searcey, M.; Pors, Klaus; Shnyder, Steven D.; Patterson, Laurence H.
TitleColon cancer-specific cytochrome P450 2W1 converts duocarmycin analogues into potent tumor cytotoxins (2013)
AuthorsTravica, S.; Pors, Klaus; Loadman, Paul M.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Johansson, I.; Alandas, Mohammed N.; Sheldrake, Helen M.; Mkrtchian, S.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Ingelman-Sundberg, M.
TitleRe-engineering of the Duocarmycin Structural Architecture Enables Bioprecursor Development Targeting CYP1A1 and CYP2W1 for Biological Activity (2013)
AuthorsSheldrake, Helen M.; Travica, S.; Johansson, I.; Loadman, Paul M.; Sutherland, Mark H.; Elsalem, Lina M.I.; Illingworth, Nicola A.; Cresswell, Alexander J.; Reuillon, Tristan; Shnyder, Steven D.; Mkrtchian, S.; Searcey, M.; Ingelman-Sundberg, M.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Pors, Klaus
TitleSynthesis and biological evaluation of colchicine C-ring analogues tethered with aliphatic linkers suitable for prodrug derivatisation (2012)
AuthorsFournier-Dit-Chabert J.;Vinader V.;Santos A.;Redondo-Horcajo M.;Dreneau A.;Basak R.;Cosentino L.;Marston G.;Abdel-Rahman H.;Loadman P.;Shnyder S.;Díaz J.;Barasoain I.;Falconer R.;Pors K.
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
TitleSynthesis and biological evaluation of colchicine B-ring analogues tethered with halogenated benzyl moieties (2012)
AuthorsCosentino L.;Redondo-Horcajo M.;Zhao Y.;Santos A.;Chowdury K.;Vinader V.;Abdallah Q.;Abdel-Rahman H.;Fournier-Dit-Chabert J.;Shnyder S.;Loadman P.;Fang W.;Díaz J.;Barasoain I.;Burns P.;Pors K.
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
TitleMinor structural modifications to alchemix influence mechanism of action and pharmacological activity (2012)
AuthorsAbdallah Q.;Phillips R.;Johansson F.;Helleday T.;Cosentino L.;Abdel-Rahman H.;Etzad J.;Wheelhouse R.;Kiakos K.;Bingham J.;Hartley J.;Patterson L.;Pors K.
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
TitleModification of the duocarmycin pharmacophore enables CYP1A1 targeting for biological activity (2011)
AuthorsPors, Klaus; Loadman, Paul M.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Sutherland, Mark H.; Sheldrake, Helen M.; Guino, M.; Kiakos, K.; Hartley, J.A.; Searcey, M.; Patterson, Laurence H.
TitleUse of the hollow fiber assay for the evaluation of DNA damaging agents (2011)
AuthorsVeiga J.;Cooper P.;Pors K.;Patterson L.;Bibby M.;Shnyder S.
JournalJournal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods
TitleChemical and Biological Explorations of the Family of CC-1065 and the Duocarmycin Natural Products. (2009)
AuthorsGhosh, Nandita; Sheldrake, Helen M.; Searcey, M.; Pors, Klaus
TitleThe changing landscape of cancer drug discovery: a challenge to the medicinal chemist of tomorrow (2009)
AuthorsPors, Klaus; Goldberg, F.W.; Leamon, C.P.; Rigby, A.C.; Snyder, S.A.; Falconer, Robert A.
JournalDrug Discovery Today
TitleSynthesis of DNA-Directed Pyrrolidinyl and Piperidinyl Confined Alkylating Chloroalkylaminoanthraquinones: Potential for Development of Tumor-Selective N-Oxides (2006)
AuthorsPatterson, Laurence H.; Pors, Klaus; Shnyder, Steven D.; Teesdale-Spittle, P.H.; Hartley, J.A.; Searcey, M.; Zloh, M.
TitleDesign and synthesis of a DNA-crosslinking azinomycin analogue (2005)
AuthorsPors, Klaus; Casely-Hayford, M.A.; Hartley, J.A.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Searcey, M.
TitleDevelopment of nonsymmetrical 1,4-disubstituted anthraquinones that are potently active against cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells (2005)
AuthorsTeesdale-Spittle, P.H.; Pors, Klaus; Brown, R.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Plumb, J.A.
TitleTruncated azinomycin analogues intercalate into DNA. (2005)
AuthorsCasely-Hayford, M.A.; Pors, Klaus; Patterson, Laurence H.; Gerner, C.; Neidle, S.; Searcey, M.
TitleSynthesis and biological evaluation of novel chloroethylaminoanthraquinones with potent cytotoxic activity against cisplatin-resistant tumor cells (2004)
AuthorsPors, Klaus; Paniwnyk, Z.; Patterson, Laurence H.; Ruparelia, K.C.; Hartley, J.A.; Kelland, L.R.
TitleAlchemix: a novel alkylating anthraquinone with potent activity against anthracycline- and cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer. (2003)
AuthorsPors, Klaus; Paniwnyk, Z.; Teesdale-Spittle, P.H.; Plumb, J.A.; Willmore, E.; Austin, C.A.; Patterson, Laurence H.

Other typeReviews
TitleTherapeutic antibodies against cancer stem cells: a promising approach (2017)
AuthorsSneha S.;Nagare R.;Priya S.;Sidhanth C.;Pors K.;Ganesan T.
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Other typeReviews
TitleAldehyde dehydrogenases in cancer: An opportunity for biomarker and drug development? (2014)
AuthorsPors K.;Moreb J.
JournalDrug Discovery Today
Other typeReviews
TitleMicrotubule stabilising agents for cancer chemotherapy (2009)
AuthorsZhao Y.;Fang W.;Pors K.
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents
Other typeReviews
TitleChemical and biological explorations of the family of CC-1065 and the duocarmycin natural products (2009)
AuthorsGhosh N.;Sheldrake H.;Searcey M.;Pors K.
JournalCurrent Topics in Medicinal Chemistry
Other typeReviews
TitleThe changing landscape of cancer drug discovery: a challenge to the medicinal chemist of tomorrow (2009)
AuthorsPors K.;Goldberg F.;Leamon C.;Rigby A.;Snyder S.;Falconer R.
JournalDrug Discovery Today
Other typeReviews
TitleDNA mismatch repair deficiency, resistance to cancer chemotherapy and the development of hypersensitive agents (2005)
AuthorsPors K.;Patterson L.
JournalCurrent Topics in Medicinal Chemistry