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Durham University

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Durham graduate shining a light on cancer treatment

(2 April 2019)

A Durham graduate is working with a local biosciences company to advance technology that could be used to treat cancer, wounds and infections. 

Josh Hughes, who graduated with a degree in Natural Sciences, joined LightOx Limited on an internship organised by our Careers & Enterprise Centre.

The internship is part of a programme called the Durham Internships Collaborative Enterprise (DICE), which pairs a Durham student or graduate with a County Durham business to help develop new products and services.



Targeted treatment technology

LightOx Limited was founded in 2016 by our academics in chemistry and biosciences. Their technology targets unwanted cells in the body by ‘lighting up’ damaged cells with a fluorescent drug in primary and secondary tumour regions.

The method could eliminate tumour cells without causing significant disruption to non-cancerous tissue and surrounding healthy cells.

The technology could provide alternative treatments for infections, wounds and cancerous cells, avoiding the need for surgery or antibiotics.

Drug discovery

Josh’s internship is helping the company to work towards developing drugs that could mean certain types of cancers, such as those in the head and neck, are treated with light activated technology, reducing the need for surgery and invasive treatment.

As part of his internship, Josh is also building invaluable experience in business development, giving him the opportunity to meet with current and potential clients to help the company grow.

Supporting local businesses

Programmes such as DICE are supporting small and medium sized businesses through research and development, pairing talented students who can provide fresh thinking and creative ideas to a business.

We want to help local businesses grow and develop and retaining our talented students in the North East of England is an important part of supporting the local economy. 

Find out more

  • Read about Josh’s internship experiences here
  • Eligible businesses may be able to attract a wage subsidy for a student or graduate intern as part of DICE. Find out how to apply for DICE.
  • Learn more about studying chemistry or biosciences at Durham

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