2014 Participants
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NAME: Logan Lawrence

PROJECT TITLE: :Isolation and Targeting of Cancer Stem Cell Population in Glioblastoma Multiforme

The purpose of my research is to evaluate the effectiveness of the various Chemo drugs available for treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), a tumor involving the glial cells. The traditional treatment course for new cases of many cancers is surgery followed by chemotherapy. All currently prescribed chemotherapy regimens are profiled assuming they are effective across a large base of similar patient demographics; however it is common knowledge that no two patients are alike in their response to chemotherapies.  Therefore, less than 40% of patients experience long-term survival following standard treatment . Despite drastic improvements in the use of existing therapeutic modalities, the outlook for most cancer patients, particularly those with advanced cancers, is still poor. Even though many of the new anticancer drugs can result in tumor shrinkage, their impact on survival has been modest. Resistance to cancer chemotherapeutic agents, both new and old, remains a major problem due to the presence of rare and biologically distinct subpopulation of cancer cells described as “cancer stem cells” (CSC). These cells have the ability to self-renew, resist to therapy, and proliferate indefinitely. Based on the similarities in behavior between CSCs and normal stem cells it is my hypothesis that 1.) CSCs grown in a simulated microgravity cell culture conditions will maintain the their stem cell markers and 2.) that by manipulating the cell culture conditions will further drive the self-renewal and proliferation of CSCs from GBM cell lines. The major objective of this project is to optimize cancer stem cell enrichment from GBM cell lines and evaluate the effectiveness of standard of care drugs against bulk of tumor cells and cancer stem cells.  Since there are no functional biomarkers available for administering chemotherapy, the expected outcome of my project will be in the optimization of a cell-based functional prognostic assay for the identification of most effective chemotherapy regimen that targets CSCs and bulk tumor cells