VCU Massey Cancer Center


Massey member directory

For members: update your profile »

« Back to member list

Nicholas Farrell, Ph.D.

Massey Cancer Center research program membership

Developmental Therapeutics

Department affiliations

Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Humanities and Sciences


PhD, University of Sussex, United Kingdom (1973)

Awards and honors

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

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.

Disease focus of research

Breast, Ovarian, Brain & nervous system, Pancreatic

Research keywords

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

Published research (during tenure as a Massey Cancer Center member)

Search In PubMed

Contact information


View graphic version