Name Professor Weiguang Wang MD, PhD
Job Title

Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapeutics

Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School School of Sciences
Subject(s) Drug development and experimental cancer therapeutics
Tel 01902 322756

Biomedical science

Weiguang obtained his MB in Hebei United University, China; Msc/MD in Beijing Postgraduate Medical School/PLA 301 Hospital, Beijing; PhD in Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK. Before joining University of Wolverhampton in 2005, he worked as a research fellow and senior research scientist in Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Manchester, Institute of Medicine and Therapeutics, Aberdeen and Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow. He joined the University of Wolverhampton as a Senior Lecturer in May 2005 and was promoted to Reader and Professor in 2007 and 2014 respectively.

  • Targeting NF-κB pathway to improve cancer chemotherapy outcomes. Using microarray technology, Professor Wang identified NF-κB as a biological factor involved in cancer chemoresistance (Wang et al., Cancer Res 1998, 58:4426-33; 2004, 64:8167-76). Targeting NF-κB, using a clinically available antialcoholism drug, disulfiram (DSF), significantly enhances the cytotoxicity of conventional anticancer drugs to a wide range of cancer types and reverses chemoresistance in drug-resistant cancer cells. The anticancer mechanisms of DSF are investigated in his team. His group is aiming to identify NF-κB-targeting small molecules for anticancer drug development.
  • Manipulation of NF-κB pathway to target cancer stem cells.

Cancer contains a very small portion of cancer stem cells (CSCs) which are highly resistant to conventional anticancer drugs and become the source of post-chemotherapeutic cancer recurrence. In the recent years, Weiguang’s team demonstrated that NF-κB pathway is one of the key regulators of CSCs. In collaboration with scientists in China, Spain and USA, they have developed nano-encapsulated long circulating DSF which shows anti-CSC activity in vitro and in vivo.


Research Collaborations


Grant funding

  1. Development of nano-enabled Disulfiram to target non-small cell lung cancer. British Lung Foundation. 2015 – 2016; Prof. Weiguang Wang and Dr Christopher Mcconville; £49,974
  2. Nano-technology enabled repositioning of Disulfiram as an anti-cancer stem cell agent – NANODISCAN. FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IIF. 2014 – 2017; Prof. Weiguang Wang; €299,558

Development of a novel anti-cancer-stem-cell drug for colon cancer treatment. PhD studentship; Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Nigeria. 2012 .10 – 2015.09; Prof. W Wang; £66,480

  • Vice President of Global Chinese Medical Doctor Association -  2014 –
  • Standing Committee Member of Chinese Life Scientist Society, UK - 2009 –
  • Honorary Prof, Oncol Centre, Beijing PLA General Hospital, China  - 2004 –
  • Honorary Prof, Medical School, Hebei United Univ. China - 2007 –
  • Honorary Prof, The Third Military Medical University, China - 2012 -
  • Member of SMB Board, RIHS/SAS, UoW -  2005 –
  • Editorial Board Member of Br J Med & Med Res -  2012-
  • Editorial Board Member of J Cancer Res Ther - 2012 –
  • Editorial Board Member of Vascular Cell -2012 –
  • Editorial Board Member of J Mol Genet Med - 2013 - 

Selected journal publications:


Selected Peer-reviewed Publications (since 2008)

  1. Effective elimination of adult B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia by Disulfiram/copper complex in vitro and in xenograft immunodeficient mice Manman Deng,Zhiwu Jiang,Yin Li, Yong Zhou, Jie Li, Xiangmeng Wang, Yao Yao, Weiguang Wang*, Peng Li*, Bing Xu*. Oncotarget 2016 in press *Correspondence author
  2. Tawari P, Wang Z, Najlah M, Tsang TW, Kannappan V, Liu P, McConville C, He B, Armesilla AL and Wang W. The cytotoxic mechanisms of Disulfiram and copper(II) in cancer cells. Toxic Res. 2015; 4:1439-42
  3. McConville C, Tawari P and Wang W. Hot Melt Extruded and Injection Moulded Disulfiram-loaded PLGA Millirods for the Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme via Stereotactic Injection. Int J Pharma. 2015; 494:73 – 82
  4. Li Y, Chen K, Zhou Y, Xiao Y, Deng m, Li J, Jiang Z, Wang X, Ye W, Liang J, Zheng Z, Wei X, Yao Y, Wang W, Li P, Xu B. A New Strategy to Target Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem and Progenitor Cells Using Chidamide, a Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor. Curr Cancer Drug Targets 2015; 15:493 – 503
  5. Zembko I, Ahmed I, Farooq A, Dail J, Tawari P, Wang W, Mcconville C. Development of Disulfiram-Loaded Poly(Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid)Wafers for the Localised Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme: A Comparison of Manufacturing Techniques. J Pharma Sci 2015; 104:1076-86
  6. Baffoe CS, Nguyen N, Boyd P, Wang W, Morris M, McConville C. Disulfiram-loaded immediate and extended release vaginal tablets for the localised treatment of cervical cancer. J Pharm Pharmacol 2015; 67:189-98
  7. Boyd P, Major I, Wang W and McConville C. Development of Disulfiram-Loaded Vaginal Rings for the Localised Treatment of Cervical Cancer. Eur J Pharmaceutics Biopharmaceutics 2014; 88:945-53
  8. Baggott R, Alfranca A, Lopez-Maderuelo D, Mohamed T, Escolano A, Oller J, Ornes B, Kurusamy S, Rowther F, Brown J, Oceandy D, Cartwright E, Wang W, Gomez-del Arco P, Martinez-Martinez S, Neyses L, Redondo JM, and Armesilla AL. The Plasma Membrane Calcium ATPase isoform 4 inhibits VEGF-mediated angiogenesis through interaction with calcineurin. Arterios Throm Vascul Biol 2014 In press
  9. Liu P, Wang Z, Brown S, Kannappan V, Tawari PE, Jiang W, Irache JM, Tang JZ, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Tang X and Wang W. Liposome encapsulated Disulfiram inhibits NFkB pathway and targets breast cancer stem cells in vitro and in vivo. Oncotarget 2014; 5:7471-85
  10. Yang L, Ren Y, Yu X, Qian F, Bian BSJ, Wang W, Xiao HL, Xu SL, Yang J, Cui W, Liu Q, Wang Z, Guo W, Xiong G, Yang K, Qian C, Zhang X, Cui YH, Bian XW. ALDH1A1 defines invasive cancer stem-like cells and predicts poor prognosis in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Mod Pathol. 2014 May;27(5):775-83
  11. Liu Y, Chen F, Wang S, Guo X, Shi P, Wang W, Xu B. Low-dose Triptolide in Combination with Idarubicin Induces Apoptosis in Leukemia Stem and Progenitor Cells via Affecting Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors. Cell Death Dis. 2013, 4:e948
  12. Chen F, Liu Y, Wang S, Guo X, Shi P, Wang W, Xu B. Triptolide, a Chinese herbal extract, enhances drug sensitivity of resistant myeloid leukemia cell lines through down regulation of HIF-1α and Nrf2. Pharmacogenomics. 2013, 14:1305-17
  13. Liu P, Sampath KI, Brown S, Kannappan V, Tawari PE, Tang TZ, Jiang WG, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W Disulfiram targets cancer stem-like cells and reverses resistance and cross-resistance in acquired paclitaxel resistant triple negative breast cancer cells. Br J Cancer 2013; 109:1876-85
  14. Kast RE, Boockvar JA, Brüning A, Wang W at al. A conceptually new treatment approach for relapsed glioblastoma: Coordinated undermining of survival paths with nine repurposed drugs (CUSP9) by the International Initiative for Accelerated Improvement of Glioblastoma Care. Oncotarget 2013 4, 502-30
  15. Liu P, Brown S, Channathodiyil P, Kannappan V, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W. Cytotoxic effect of disulfiram/copper on human glioblastoma cell lines and ALDH-positive cancer-stem-like cells. Br J Cancer 2013; 108:994
  16. Wang W and Darling JL. How could a drug used to treat alcoholism also be effective against glioblastoma? (Editorial article) Expert Rev Anticancer Drug 2013; 13:239-41
  17. Özkan M, Mutiso PBC, Nahar L, Liu P, Brown S, Wang W, Sarker SD. Zanthoxylum usambarense (Engl.) Kokwaro (Rutaceae) extracts inhibit the growth of the breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, but not the brain tumour cell line U251 in vitro. Phytother Res. 2013; 27:787-90
  18. Liu P, Brown S, Goktug T, Channathodiyil P, Kannappan V, Hugnot J-P, Guichet P-O, Bian X-W, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W. Cytotoxic effect of disulfiram/copper on human glioblastoma cell lines and ALDH positive cancer-stem-like cells. Br J Cancer 2012; 107:1488-97
  19. Baggott R, Mohamed TMA, Oceandy D, Holton M, Blanc MC, Roux-Soro SC, Brown S, Brown JE, Wang W, Neyses L and Armesilla AL. The interaction between PMCA2 and calcineurin mediates protection from apoptosis and resistance to paclitaxel induced cytotoxicity in breast cancer cells. Carcinogenesis 2012; 33:2362-8
  20. Yip NC, Fombon IS, Liu P, Brown S, Kannappan V, Armesilla AL, Xu B, Cassidy J, Darling JL, Wang W. Disulfiram modulated ROS-MAPK and NFκB pathways and targeted breast cancer cells with cancer stem cell-like properties. Br J Cancer 2011; 104:1564-74
  21. Xu B, Shi P, Fombon IS, Zhang Y, Huang F, Wang W, Zhou S. Disulfiram/copper complex activated JNK/c-jun pathway and sensitized cytotoxicity of doxorubicin in doxorubicin resistant leukemia HL60 cells. Blood Cells, Mol Dis 2011; 47:264-9
  22. Xu X, Guo X, Mathew S, Armesilla AL, Cassidy J, Darling JL, Wang W. Triptolide simultaneously induces reactive oxygen species, inhibits NF-κB activity and sensitises 5-fluorouracil in colorectal cancer cell lines. Cancer Lett. 2010; 291:200-8
  23. Guo X, Xu B, Pandey S, Goessl E, Brown J, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W. Disulfiram/copper complex inhibiting NFkappaB activity and potentiating cytotoxic effect of gemcitabine on colon and breast cancer cell lines. Cancer Lett. 2010; 290:104-13
  24. Holton M, Mohamed TM, Oceandy D, Wang W, Lamas S, Emerson M, Neyses L, Armesilla AL. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity is inhibited by the plasma membrane calcium ATPase in human endothelial cells. Cardiovasc Res. 2010; 87:440-8
  25. Holton ML, Wang W, Emerson M, Neyses L, Armesilla AL. Plasma membrane calcium ATPase proteins as novel regulators of signal transduction pathways. World J Bio Chem. 2010; 1:201-8
  26. Dai JG, Xie HW, Jin G, Wang W, Zhang Y, Guo Y. Preliminary study on high-level expression of tantem-arranged tachyplesin-encoding gene in bacillus subtilis Wb800 and its antibacterial activity. Mar Biotechnol. 2009; 11:109-7
  27. Guo X., Goessl E., Jin G., Collie-Duguid ES., Cassidy J., Wang W and Vincent O’Brien. Cell cycle perturbation and acquired 5-fluorouracil chemoresistance. Anticancer Res. 2008; 28:9-14  

23.  Xu B, Song X, Yip NC, Xiao P, Wang W and Zhou S. Multiplex fluorescence real-time quantitative PCR for detection MDR1 and WT1 gene expression in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Hematology 2010; 15:74-8027.  Petty RD, Samuel LM, MacDonald G, O’Kelly T, Loudon M, Binnie N, Aly E, McKinley A, Wang W, Gilbert F, Semple S, Collie-Duguid E. APRIL is a novel clinical chemo-resistance biomarker in colorectal adenocarcinoma identified by gene expression profiling. BMC Cancer 2009; 9:434


Selected conference publications:


1)    Vinodh Kannappan, Zhipeng Wang, John Darling, Weiguang Wang. Translation of an anti-alcoholism drug into a non-profit anticancer drug using nanotechnology. SET for Britain, 2016; Presented in the House of Commons and Awarded a Silver Prize

2)    Vinodh Kannappan, Kate Butcher, Zhipeng Wang, Christopher McConville, Weiguang Wang. An anti-alcoholism drug gives lung cancer patients new hope. British Lung Foundation Alumni Conference 2016, London; Won the only Prize.

3)    Tawari EP, Liu P, Wang Z, Kannappan V, Mcconville C, Armesilla A, Darling J, J Irache, Yoncheva K, Petrov P and W Wang. Pluronic micelle-encapsulated Disulfiram targets cancer stem-like cells and reverses pan-resistance in acquired resistant breast cancer cell lines. Cancer Res. 2015, 75:4067

4)    Tawari PE, Wang Z, Kannappan V, Mcconville C, Armesilla AL and Wang W. NFkB: A key factor involved in hypoxia-induced chemoresistance in breast cancer cells. BACR Breast Cancer Conference October 2015, Newcastle

5)    Tawari PE, Liu P, Wang Z, Kannappan V, Mcconville C, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Irache JM and Wang W. Pluronic micelle-encapsulated Disulfiram targets cancer stem-like cells and reverses pan-resistance in acquired resistant breast cancer cell lines. AACR AACR, USA, 2015; Philadelphia

6)    Baggott RR, Alfranca A, Mohamed TA, Ornés BC, López-Maderuelo MD, Escolano A, Oller J, Rowther FB, Oceandy D, Brown J, Cartwright EJ, Wang W, Gómez-Del Arco P, Martínez-Martínez S, Neyses L, Redondo JM and Armesilla AL. A Novel Role of Plasma Membrane Calcium ATPases as Negative-Regulators of VEGF-Induced Angiogenesis BritishSociety for Cardiovascular Research, Reading. 2014

7)    Kannappan V, Liu P, Brown B, Tawari PE, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W. Disulfiram targets Glioblsatoma stem like cells by modulating aldehyde dehydrogenase and hypoxia-NFkB pathway. AACR Annual Meeting, 2014

8)    Kannappan V, Wang Z, Liu P, Brown S, Tawari PE, Bian XW, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W. Disulfiram – An anti-alcoholism drug targets glioblastoma stem cells by modulating hypoxia-NF-kB pathway. BACR: Advance in Cancer Drug Discovery. 2014

9)    Liu P, Wang Z, Brown S, Kannappan V, Tawari PE, Tang JZ, Armesilla AL, Darling JL, Wang W. Disulfiram – An anti-alcoholism medicine giving breast cancer patients new hope. BACR: Advance in Cancer Drug Discovery. 2014

10) Tawari PE, Irache JM, Larrañeta E, Yoncheva K and Wang W. Encapsulation of disulfiram in Pluronic micelles: enhancing the efficacy of disulfiram as a potential anticancer agent. 19th International Symposium on Microencapsulation. September 2013, Navarra, Spain.       




  • Transcription enhancing molecule; WO 2008/113983
  • Disulfiram formulation and uses thereof; PCT/GB2011/1052439. It has now entered the national phase in Europe, USA and China (EP2648709).

PLGA formulation of Disulfiram (1519643.9).