PhD Candidate Profile: Victor Lu

Victor Lu photo

What is your research about?

Glioblastoma is the worst type of brain cancer. On average, GBM patients survive for 14 months, and this is with our best possible treatment right now – surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Nothing has changed for the last decade in terms of new drugs, and this calls for us to consider options that are new and innovative to try and change this.

Nanoparticles are an area of nanomedicine that may be one such option. This is because of their small size, they can potentially reach the glioblastoma cells in the brain better than the chemotherapy drugs we have now. If we can show that these nanoparticles can successfully target the glioblastoma cells, then future testing as a new and innovative option is an exciting prospect. Furthermore, particular nanoparticles may be able to amplify radiation to help with radiotherapy, and some are similar in chemical size to important chemicals in the cell which may potentially make chemotherapy stronger.

What is translational application of your research?

The main goal of this research is to improve the dismal survival rate of glioblastoma patients. The potential for this new therapy of nanoparticles to change the lives of glioblastoma patients is thus clear. By improving current management options, it is possible that survival rates will drastically improve which is arguably the most important translational outcome in terms of patient care and clinical outcomes. 

Indirectly, this study will also lead to potential translational discoveries because the study of nanoparticles in glioblastoma is quite new. What else we may learn is how nanoparticles are best used to target glioblastoma, so that in the future, other designs of nanoparticles can benefit from what we discover with this research. Again, this is with the intention to improve survival outcomes which is of greatest significance to patient care and clinical outcomes. 

How would the TCRN PhD top-up scholarship help you succeed?

It will assist in the provision of resources and opportunities to expand my horizons in this area of study. This will include, but not limited to, facilitating access to specialized analyses and presentation at conferences, both within and outside Australia.