Matching Items (132)

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Increasing Cervical Cancer Screening in a Federally Qualified Health Center

Description

Routine cervical cancer screening has significantly decreased the mortality rate of cervical cancer. Today, cervical cancer predominantly affects those who are rarely or never screened. Government programs are in place

Routine cervical cancer screening has significantly decreased the mortality rate of cervical cancer. Today, cervical cancer predominantly affects those who are rarely or never screened. Government programs are in place to provide cervical cancer screening at little to no cost, yet screening rates remain suboptimal.

This project evaluated an evidence-based intervention to increase cervical cancer screening among underserved women in a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Female patients ages 21 to 65 years without history of hysterectomy (n=1,710) were sent reminders to their phones through the electronic health record (EHR). The message included educational material about the screening process and an announcement regarding government aid for free or reduced cost screening.

The number of patients who made an appointment after receiving the message was assessed two months later. In total, 156 responses were collected, and 28 patients made an appointment for screening. The most frequently observed category of Ethnicity was Hispanic/Latina (n = 24, 86%). The most frequently observed category of Insurance was Title X (n = 13, 46%). The observations for Age had an average of 41.04 (SD = 9.93). Using an EHR communication function to send motivational reminders has shown some promise for increasing cervical cancer screening, thereby reducing cervical cancer mortality among the underserved.

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Date Created
  • 2020-04-18

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Production and functional testing of a recombinant fusion protein immunotherapy for glioblastoma

Description

Fusion protein immunotherapies such as the bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) have displayed promising potential as cancer treatments capable of engaging the immune system against tumor cells. It has been

Fusion protein immunotherapies such as the bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) have displayed promising potential as cancer treatments capable of engaging the immune system against tumor cells. It has been shown that chlorotoxin, a 36-amino peptide found in the venom of the deathstalker scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus), binds specifically to glioblastoma (GBM) cells without binding healthy tissue, making it an ideal GBM cell binding moiety for a BiTE-like molecule. However, chlorotoxin’s four disulfide bonds pose a folding challenge outside of its natural context and impede production of the recombinant protein in various expression systems, including those relying on bacteria and plants. To overcome this difficulty, we have engineered a truncated chlorotoxin variant (Cltx∆15) that contains just two of the original eight cystine residues, thereby capable of forming only a single disulfide bond while maintaining its ability to bind GBM cells. We further created a BiTE (ACDClx∆15) which tethers Cltx∆15 to a single chain ⍺-CD3 antibody in order to bring T cells into contact with GBM cells. The gene for ACDClx∆15 was cloned into a pET-11a vector for expression in Escherichia coli and isolated from inclusion bodies before purification via affinity chromatography. Immunoblot analyses confirmed that ACDClx∆15 can be expressed in E. coli and purified with high yield and purity; moreover, flow cytometry indicated that ACDClx∆15 is capable of binding GBM cells. These data warrant further investigation into the ability of ACDClx∆15 to activate T cells against GBM cells.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Codon Optimization of Human TRAIL Gene for Maximal Expression in a Self-Destructing Salmonella Strain for Efficient Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Description

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer that affects both men and women and the second leading cause of death in cancer related deaths[1, 2]. The most

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer that affects both men and women and the second leading cause of death in cancer related deaths[1, 2]. The most common form of treatment is chemotherapy followed by radiation, which is insufficient to cure stage four cancers[3]. Salmonella enteric has long been shown to have inherent tumor targeting properties and have been able to penetrate and exist in all aspects of the tumor environment, something that chemotherapy is unable to achieve. This lab has developed a genetically modified Salmonella typhimurium (GMS) which is able to deliver DNA vaccines or synthesized proteins directly to tumor sites. These GMS strains have been used to deliver human TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) protein directly to tumor sites, but expression level was limited. It is the hope of the experiment that codon optimization of TRAIL to S. typhimurium preferred codons will lead to increased TRAIL expression in the GMS. For preliminary studies, BALB/c mice were subcutaneously challenged with CT-26 murine colorectal cancer cells and treated with an intra-tumor injection with either PBS, strain GMS + PCMV FasL (P2), or strain GMS + Pmus FasL). APC/CDX2 mutant mice were also induced to develop human colon polyps and treated with either PBS, strain GMS + vector (P1), P2, or P3. The BALB/c mouse showed statistically significant levels of decreased tumor size in groups treated with P2 or P3. The APC/CDX2 mouse study showed statistically significant levels of decreased colon polyp numbers in groups treated with P3, as expected, but was not significantly significant for groups treated with P1 and P2. In addition, TRAIL was codon optimized for robust synthesis in Salmonella. The construct will be characterized and evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Hopefully, the therapeutic effect of codon optimized TRAIL will be maximal while almost completely minimizing any unintended side effects.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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UTILIZING A NOVEL 3D BREAST TUMOR MODEL TO STUDY COMBINATORIAL DRUG TREATMENT EFFICACY

Description

Stromal cells play an important role in facilitating disease progression of ductal carcinoma. Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are an important component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) which constitutes the microenvironment

Stromal cells play an important role in facilitating disease progression of ductal carcinoma. Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are an important component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) which constitutes the microenvironment of breast tumor cells. They are known to participate in chemotherapeutic drug resistance by modulating various biochemical and biophysical factors that contribute to increased matrix stiffness and collagen I density of the tumor-adjacent stroma. To address these issues in terms of patient treatment, anti-cancer drug regimes have been assembled to incorporate both chemotherapeutic as well as anti-fibrotic drugs to both target tumor cells while also diminishing the elastic modulus of the microenvironment by targeting CAFs. The quantitative assessment of these drug regimes on tumor progression is missing in terms of CAFs role alone.

A high density 3D tumor model was utilized to recapitulate the tumor microenvironment of ductal carcinoma in vitro. The tumor model consisted of MDA-MB-231 tumors seeded within micromolded collagen wells, chemically immobilized upon a surface treated PDMS substrate. CAFs were seeded within the greater collagen structure from which the microwells were formed. The combinatorial effect of anti-fibrotic drug (Tranilast) and chemotherapy drug (Doxorubicin) were studied within 3D co culture conditions. Specifically, the combinatorial effects of the drugs on tumor cell viability, proliferation, and invasion were examined dynamically upon coculture with CAFs using the microengineered model.

The results of the study showed that the combinatorial effects of Tranilast and Doxorubicin significantly decreased the proliferative ability of tumor cells, in addition to significantly decreasing the ability of tumor cells to remain viable and invade their surrounding stroma, compared to control conditions.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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How Summer Camps Can Aid Palliative Care for Cancer Patients

Description

The rate of cancer incidence is a morbid figure. Twenty years ago, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women were predicted to be afflicted by cancer throughout their

The rate of cancer incidence is a morbid figure. Twenty years ago, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women were predicted to be afflicted by cancer throughout their lifetime (Cancer Facts & Figures- 1998). In 2017, the rate remains the same ("Cancer Statistic Center"). Every year, more people are affected by cancer, which is a physiologically, psychologically, emotionally and socially devastating disease. And yet the language and metaphors we use to describe cancer focus our attention on the "fight" of the heroic individual against the brutal disease or on finding a cure. Despite this narrow rhetoric, there are many meaningful, supportive, and palliative measures designed to substantively and holistically care for cancer patients, beyond their medical treatment. Many of these interventions help the patient feel supported (and less alone in this "battle") by building robust communities. In this thesis, I argue the summer camps for children affected by cancer are meaningful interventions that offer palliative care throughout their treatment by creating support networks with peers going through similar medical procedures. Drawing on anecdotal evidence from three cancer camps and a detailed literature review of a subset of palliative interventions designed to promote well-being, this thesis proposes a new model for a summer camp that focuses on emotional processing emotional expression, positive psychology in order to improve palliative care for cancer patients.

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Date Created
  • 2017-12

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Treatment for T-Cell Lymphoma Cancer: Synthesis of Analog Compound of Bexarotene

Description

Cancer, a disease which affects many lives, has been the topic of interest for this research. Treatment options are often available to help lessen the effects of the disease and

Cancer, a disease which affects many lives, has been the topic of interest for this research. Treatment options are often available to help lessen the effects of the disease and in regards to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), no cure currently exists. An FDA approved drug by the name of Bexarotene has been developed to provide chemotherapeutic effects within CTCL. Bexarotene has also been used in trials of breast cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma multiforme and various neurodegenerative diseases. Yet the medication often causes serious side effects including hyperthyroidism, raised triglyceride levels and cutaneous toxicity. The focus of this research is to synthesize a hydroxylated analog compound of Bexarotene in efforts to produce a molecule that provides better chemotherapeutic effects while also lessening the various side effects caused. Synthesis of the molecule followed various organic chemistry techniques and reactions to create the final product. Melting point analysis, NMR and other various characterization data helped to confirm the synthesis of the intended molecule. Preliminary bioassay data results of the analog compound showed similar potency to that of Bexarotene. Further testing, however, will be required to determine the full pharmacokinetic profile of the molecule. Future direction of the research focuses on both further testing of the hydroxylated analog as well synthesizing newer analog compounds to find a molecule that can provide the best effects within cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and the various other diseases as well.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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The Effects of Human Hairless Gene Overexpression on U87 MG Glioblastoma Cell Function

Description

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant brain tumor with a median prognosis of 14 months. Human hairless protein (HR) is a 130 kDa nuclear transcription factor that plays a

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant brain tumor with a median prognosis of 14 months. Human hairless protein (HR) is a 130 kDa nuclear transcription factor that plays a critical role in skin and hair function but was found to be highly expressed in neural tissue as well. The expression of HR in GBM tumor cells is significantly decreased compared to the normal brain tissue and low levels of HR expression is associated with shortened patient survival. We have recently reported that HR is a DNA binding phosphoprotein, which binds to p53 protein and p53 responsive element (p53RE) in vitro and in intact cells. We hypothesized that HR can regulate p53 downstream target genes, and consequently affects cellular function and activity. To test the hypothesis, we overexpressed HR in normal human embryonic kidney HEK293 and GBM U87MG cell lines and characterized these cells by analyzing p53 target gene expression, viability, cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis. The results revealed that the overexpressed HR not only regulates p53-mediated target gene expression, but also significantly inhibit cell viability, induced early apoptosis, and G2/M cell cycle arrest in U87MG cells, compared to mock groups. Translating the knowledge gained from this research on the connections between HR and GBM could aid in identifying novel therapies to circumvent GBM progression or improve clinical outcome.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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The Influence of the ""War on Cancer"" Metaphor on Illness Perception and Treatment Decision

Description

The purpose of this thesis study was to examine whether the "war on cancer" metaphor influences cancer perception and treatment decision. A total of 249 undergraduates (152 females) from a

The purpose of this thesis study was to examine whether the "war on cancer" metaphor influences cancer perception and treatment decision. A total of 249 undergraduates (152 females) from a large southwestern university participated in an online survey experiment and were either randomly assigned to the control condition (N=123) or to the war prime condition (N=126). Participants in the control condition did not receive the metaphor manipulation while participants in the war prime condition received the subtle "war on cancer" metaphor prime. After the prime was given, participants read a scenario, answered questions related to the situation, and responded to demographic questions. The results suggested that, compared to participants in the no-prime condition, participants exposed to the war metaphor were more likely to (a) view melanoma as an acute disease, (b) choose chemotherapy over molecular tests, and (c) prefer more aggressive treatment. These findings illustrated the unintended consequences of the "war on cancer" slogan. The results were encouraging and in the predicted direction, but the effect size was small. The discussion section described possible future directions for research.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Gene Families in Cancer: Using phylogenetic data to examine an atavistic model of cancer

Description

Despite the 40-year war on cancer, very limited progress has been made in developing a cure for the disease. This failure has prompted the reevaluation of the causes and development

Despite the 40-year war on cancer, very limited progress has been made in developing a cure for the disease. This failure has prompted the reevaluation of the causes and development of cancer. One resulting model, coined the atavistic model of cancer, posits that cancer is a default phenotype of the cells of multicellular organisms which arises when the cell is subjected to an unusual amount of stress. Since this default phenotype is similar across cell types and even organisms, it seems it must be an evolutionarily ancestral phenotype. We take a phylostratigraphical approach, but systematically add species divergence time data to estimate gene ages numerically and use these ages to investigate the ages of genes involved in cancer. We find that ancient disease-recessive cancer genes are significantly enriched for DNA repair and SOS activity, which seems to imply that a core component of cancer development is not the regulation of growth, but the regulation of mutation. Verification of this finding could drastically improve cancer treatment and prevention.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Immune Blockade Therapy in Metastatic Osteosarcoma

Description

Since Metastatic Osteosarcoma is unresponsive to most of the current standards of care currently available, and yields a survival rate of 20%, it is pertinent that novel approaches to treating

Since Metastatic Osteosarcoma is unresponsive to most of the current standards of care currently available, and yields a survival rate of 20%, it is pertinent that novel approaches to treating it be undertaken in scientific research. Past studies in our lab have used a The Immune Blockade Therapy, utilizing α-CTLA-4 and α-PD-L1 to treat mice with metastatic osteosarcoma; this resulted in 60% of mice achieving disease-free survival and protective immunity against metastatic osteosarcoma. 12 We originally wanted to see if the survival rate could be boosted by pairing the immune blockade therapy with another current, standard of care, radiation. We had found that there were certain, key features to experimental design that had to be maintained and explored further in order to raise survival rates, ultimately with the goal of reestablishing the 60% survival rate seen in mice treated with the immune blockade therapy. Our results show that mice with mature immune systems, which develop by 6-8 weeks, should be used in experiments testing an immune blockade, or other forms of immunotherapy, as they are capable of properly responding to treatment. Treatment as early as one day after should be maintained in future experiments looking at the immune blockade therapy for the treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma in mice. The immune blockade therapy, using α-PD-L1 and α-CTLA-4, seems to work synergistically with radiation, a current standard of care. The combination of these therapies could potentially boost the 60% survival rate, as previously seen in mice treated with α-PD-L1 and α-CTLA-4, to a higher percent by means of reducing tumor burden and prolonging length of life in metastatic osteosarcoma.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05