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Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D.

Research program member: Developmental Therapeutics

Box 842006
901 W. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23298-2006




Professor, Chemistry, College of Humanities and Sciences


PhD, University of Sussex, United Kingdom (1973)

Research description

Our research is focused on expanding the utility of platinum-based anticancer drugs in difficult to treat cancers. We have identified new cellular targets unique to our proprietary polynuclear platinum complexes (PPCs). Specifically, these charged molecules bind to sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAGs) in the extracellular matrix of cancer cells. As sGAGS expression is often elevated in cancers that tend to metastasize, like triple negative breast cancer, this property allied to DNA binding means that PPCs are inherently dual-function agents with more than one mode of action. Cancer treatment may remain as an empirical combination of drugs that act on different mechanistic levels but are each designed for one specific target, in many cases, resulting in just incremental improvements in the outcome. Therapeutic strategies to develop inherently multifunctional agents hold promise for more effective combinations to overcome limitations, such as resistance to single-targeted drugs.

Research keywords

Angiogenesis,Biomarkers,Cancer therapy resistance,Chemical biology,DNA damage,Drug discovery,Metastasis,Molecular medicine,Precision medicine,Targeted therapies

Published research

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Awards and honors

Distinguished Research Scholarship Award, 2003, Virginia Commonwealth University
Distinguished Scholar, 1997, Virginia Commonwealth University