Paul is an established figure in the endocrinology and cancer fields. With over a decade of experience in both academic and industrial environments, he has extensive research knowledge on a wide-range of areas. He is an author on over 30 scientific papers, covering endocrinology, oncology, inflammation, cardiology, and drug development, and has various reviews and book chapters to his name.
Paul is an enthusiastic scientist who communicates his academic research on endocrine-related cancers at national and international conferences. He is extremely interested in the identification and targeting of pathways within steroidogenesis in order to develop new treatments for hormone-dependent disease. He is also a strong advocate for the improvement of animal welfare in medical research.
Ph.D. Pharmacology, 2001
B.Sc. Physiology & Pharmacology, 1998
Paul qualified with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Physiology and Pharmacology in 1998. He subsequently went on to do a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at King’s College London, where his research focused on the role of nerve growth factor (NGF) as an inflammatory mediator.
Paul remained in the inflammatory field when he took a research associate position at Queen Mary University London in 2001. His primary research areas at that time concentrated on how the kinins, particularly bradykinin, protected against cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury (I/R). At this time Paul also gained teaching experience as a lecturer on various BMedSci courses.
In 2004, Paul moved into investigating endocrine-related cancer at Imperial College London and Sterix Ltd. (a spin-out company, now defunct, own by Ipsen Pharmacueticals Ltd.) Direction of research focused on two main areas, 1) the development of novel enzyme inhibitors for the treatment of hormone-driven cancers and, 2) the development of novel cytotoxic/anti-angiogenic agents for hormone-refractory cancers. Both research themes resulted in significant successes with various compounds in or about to enter clinical trials. Paul directed all in vivo research at Sterix Ltd. This primarily involved the design and development of novel animal models of hormone-driven cancer to allow drug proof of concept studies. These models have become integral to the pre-clinical development of a number of anti-cancer agents and have informed future clinical drug trials.
Paul has recently joined the University of Birmingham (2011) as a non-clinical Lecturer in Molecular Endocrinology and his future work will focus on three primary areas: 1) Oestrogen metabolism in colorectal cancer, 2) Combining taxane therapy with metabolic inhibitors to maximise anti-cancer activity whilst limiting toxicity, and 3) Oestrogen metabolism in endometriosis.
Deputy Module Coordinator - MBChB 1st year - Cellular Communication Endocrine Pharmacology (CEP)
BDS1 1st year – Endocrine Component Module Lead - Digestion-Renal-Endocrine (DRE)
BMedSci 3rd year – Endocrinology of Common Metabolic Disorders
MRes – Endocrine-related Cancer
Paul is always interested in recruiting talented new PhD students and postdoctoral associates. Please feel free to contact him for further information on current opportunities. If you are interesting in furthering your studying any endocrine-related cancers please contact Paul on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.
For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings..
Current Group Members:
Rachel Arnold (2012)
Roseanna Petrova (2012)
Maha Adam (2012)
Endocrinology, Oncology, Oestrogen Metabolism, Colorectal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metabolic inhibitors, Novel in vivo Cancer Modelling.
Sex steroids in colorectal cancer
Uncertainty surrounds the actions of sex steroids in colorectal cancers (CRC). Although it is now widely recognised that oestrogens are beneficial against this malignancy, how these protective effects manifest remains obscure. What seems clear is that the regulation of oestrogen synthesis and metabolism is important. Numerous studies indicate estrone (E1), possibly via ERb interaction, as the protective steroid against CRC incidence and development. This suggests a significant role for the enzyme pathways involved in E1 metabolism. Consequently, down-regulation of 17b-HSD-2, which oxidises oestradiol (E2) to E1, has shown a negative prognostic factor for CRC mortality, and the ratio between steroid sulphatase (STS) and sulphotransferase (EST), enzymes that de-sulphate and sulphate E1 respectively, is a potent prognostic factor for CRC clinical outcomes.
However, much remains unclear due to a lack of basic molecular research. For example, although the STS/EST ratio in CRC patient tissue has implications on mortality, it is unknown how this effects CRC cell growth, E1S/E1/E2 concentrations, and ERa/ERb expression in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, complete profiling of sex steroid enzyme ratios, which would allow a greater understanding of local oestrogen concentrations, is lacking in available CRC cell lines and patient samples. This information, once ascertained, would clarify how oestrogens influence CRC, potentially leading to new therapeutic avenues for this disease.
Metabolic inhibitors combined with cytotoxics as anti-cancer treatment
Traditional and novel cytotoxic agents have their efficacy compromised against many cancers due to toxicological complications. Strategies that limit these difficulties without decreasing cytotoxic activity are now important areas of research. One such approach, the combination of glycolytic inhibitors with a lower dose of cytotoxic, has gained significant interest over the past few years. Preliminary research, in breast cancer xenografts, of combining 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG), a glucose analogue that competitively inhibits glycolysis, with an experimental cytotoxic (STX140, Ipsen Pharma. Ltd.), has been positive. A clinical trial investigating 2-DG combination with Taxotere (docetaxel) has also shown some success, and prodrugs of 2-DG are now in development (by Intertech Bio, Houston).
Other combinations utilising glycolysis inhibitors (e.g. 2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-FG), dichloroacetic acid (DCA)), gluconeogenesis inhibitors (e.g. metformin), and cytotoxics (e.g. paclitaxel) remain to be examined. Indeed, DCA, an inhibitor of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, has recently moved onto Phase III clinical trials and combinational studies, in order to ascertain this compounds synergistic effects with cytotoxics, are of potential therapeutic interest.
Society for Endocrinology Public Relations Committee Member
Society for Endocrinology Working Website Committee Member
Founder of The Ark Hive (www.the-ark-hive.org), a website dedicated to promoting the debate about the uses of animals in medical research.
Editorial Board member
- Open Enzyme Inhibition Journal
- 2004 – 2011: Project Leader at Imperial College London & Sterix Ltd. (Ipsen Ltd.)
- 2001 – 2004: Research Associate at Queen Mary University London
- 1998 – 2001: Ph.D. at King’s College London
A Purohit & PA Foster (2011) Steroid sulfatase inhibitors for estrogen- and androgen-dependent cancers. Journal of Endocrinology 212:99-110.
JM Day, HJ Tutill, PA Foster, et al. (2009) Development of hormone-dependent prostate cancer models for the evaluation of inhibitors of 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase Type 3. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 301:251-258.
JM Day, PA Foster, HJ Tutill et al. (2008) 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase Type 1, and not Type 12, is a target for endocrine therapy of hormone-dependent breast cancer. International Journal of Cancer Volume 122:1931-1940.
PA Foster, YT Ho, SP Newman et al. (2008) 2-MeOE2bisMATE and 2-EtE2bisMATE induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in breast cancer xenografts as shown by a novel ex vivo technique. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 111:251-260
SLC Tagg, PA Foster, MP Leese et al. (2008) 2-Methoxyoestradiol-3,17-O,O-bis-sulphamate and 2-deoxy-D-glucose in combination: a potential treatment for breast and prostate cancer.British Journal of Cancer 99:1842-1848.
PA Foster, SK Chander, SP Newman et al. (2008) A New Therapeutic Strategy against Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer: The Preclinical Development of a Dual Aromatase and Sulfatase Inhibitor. Clinical Cancer Research 14:6469-6477.
PA Foster, SK Chander, MFC Parsons et al. (2008) Efficacy of three potent steroid sulfatase inhibitors: pre-clinical investigations for their use in the treatment of hormone-dependent breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 111:129-138.
PA Foster, LWL Woo, BVL Potter et al. (2008) The use of steroid sulfatase inhibitors as a novel therapeutic strategy against hormone-dependent endometrial cancer. Endocrinology 149:4035-4042.
PA Foster, Newman SP, SK Chander et al. (2006) In vivo efficacy of STX213, a second-generation steroid sulfatase inhibitor, for hormone-dependent breast cancer therapy. Clinical Cancer Research 12:5543-5549.