Current research interests include how the tumour microenvironment influences radiotherapy and chemotherapy outcomes with particular focus on oxygen, extravascular drug distribution and DNA repair. These programs have required creative innovations in technology, including development and application of 3D tissue models and high throughput robotic instrumentation within the multi-disciplinary laboratory. Dr. Minchinton has been involved in three drug discovery programs and is currently leading an international effort to develop a tumour-targeted inhibitor of DNA dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), a pivotal protein involved in non-homologous end-joining of DNA double strand breaks, the lethal radiotherapy-induced DNA lesion.
Other currently funded collaborative projects involve exploring FLASH radiotherapy with colleagues in the Medical Physics and Radiation Oncology departments at BC Cancer. This new area of research involves delivering radiotherapy at ultra-high dose rates in an effort to minimize normal tissue damage and produce an improved therapeutic index. In partnership with researchers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UBC, Dr. Minchinton’s lab has developed novel applications of MRI for monitoring the tumour microenvironment, including biomarkers of vascular function and oxygenation. Another project is working with collaborators at the University of Auckland to explore how inhibitors of the electron transport chain can circumvent hypoxia-induced radioresistance.
Dr Minchinton has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, 5 patents and currently holds two CIHR operating grants as well as funding from the CCSRI and BC Cancer Foundation.