Matching Items (69)

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A Mathematical Model of Cell Confluency In Vitro

Description

Cellular and molecular biologists often perform cellular assays to obtain a better understanding of how cells work. However, in order to obtain a measurable response by the end of an experiment, the cells must reach an ideal cell confluency. Prior

Cellular and molecular biologists often perform cellular assays to obtain a better understanding of how cells work. However, in order to obtain a measurable response by the end of an experiment, the cells must reach an ideal cell confluency. Prior to conducting the cellular assays, range-finding experiments need to be conducted to determine an initial plating density that will result in this ideal confluency, which can be costly. To help alleviate this common issue, a mathematical model was developed that describes the dynamics of the cell population used in these experiments. To develop the model, images of cells from different three-day experiments were analyzed in Photoshop®, giving a measure of cell count and confluency (the percentage of surface area covered by cells). The cell count data were then fitted into an exponential growth model and were correlated to the cell confluency to obtain a relationship between the two. The resulting mathematical model was then evaluated with data from an independent experiment. Overall, the exponential growth model provided a reasonable and robust prediction of the cell confluency, though improvements to the model can be made with a larger dataset. The approach used to develop this model can be adapted to generate similar models of different cell-lines, which will reduce the number of preliminary range-finding experiments. Reducing the number of these preliminary experiments can save valuable time and experimental resources needed to conduct studies using cellular assays.

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2020-05

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High-throughput platforms for tumor dormancy-relapse and biomolecule binding using aminoglycoside-derived hydrogels

Description

Relapse after tumor dormancy is one of the leading causes of cancer recurrence that ultimately leads to patient mortality. Upon relapse, cancer manifests as metastases that are linked to almost 90% cancer related deaths. Capture of the dormant and relapsed

Relapse after tumor dormancy is one of the leading causes of cancer recurrence that ultimately leads to patient mortality. Upon relapse, cancer manifests as metastases that are linked to almost 90% cancer related deaths. Capture of the dormant and relapsed tumor phenotypes in high-throughput will allow for rapid targeted drug discovery, development and validation. Ablation of dormant cancer will not only completely remove the cancer disease, but also will prevent any future recurrence. A novel hydrogel, Amikagel, was developed by crosslinking of aminoglycoside amikacin with a polyethylene glycol crosslinker. Aminoglycosides contain abundant amount of easily conjugable groups such as amino and hydroxyl moieties that were crosslinked to generate the hydrogel. Cancer cells formed 3D spheroidal structures that underwent near complete dormancy on Amikagel high-throughput drug discovery platform. Due to their dormant status, conventional anticancer drugs such as mitoxantrone and docetaxel that target the actively dividing tumor phenotype were found to be ineffective. Hypothesis driven rational drug discovery approaches were used to identify novel pathways that could sensitize dormant cancer cells to death. Strategies were used to further accelerate the dormant cancer cell death to save time required for the therapeutic outcome.

Amikagel’s properties were chemo-mechanically tunable and directly impacted the outcome of tumor dormancy or relapse. Exposure of dormant spheroids to weakly stiff and adhesive formulation of Amikagel resulted in significant relapse, mimicking the response to changes in extracellular matrix around dormant tumors. Relapsed cells showed significant differences in their metastatic potential compared to the cells that remained dormant after the induction of relapse. Further, the dissertation discusses the use of Amikagels as novel pDNA binding resins in microbead and monolithic formats for potential use in chromatographic purifications. High abundance of amino groups allowed their utilization as novel anion-exchange pDNA binding resins. This dissertation discusses Amikagel formulations for pDNA binding, metastatic cancer cell separation and novel drug discovery against tumor dormancy and relapse.

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Date Created
2016

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Lead identification, optimization and characterization of novel cancer treatment strategies using repositioned drugs

Description

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and novel methods of treating advanced malignancies are of high importance. Of these deaths, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the second most fatal carcinomas in men and

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and novel methods of treating advanced malignancies are of high importance. Of these deaths, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the second most fatal carcinomas in men and women respectively, while pancreatic cancer is the fourth most fatal in both men and women. Developing new drugs for the treatment of cancer is both a slow and expensive process. It is estimated that it takes an average of 15 years and an expense of $800 million to bring a single new drug to the market. However, it is also estimated that nearly 40% of that cost could be avoided by finding alternative uses for drugs that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The research presented in this document describes the testing, identification, and mechanistic evaluation of novel methods for treating many human carcinomas using drugs previously approved by the FDA. A tissue culture plate-based screening of FDA approved drugs will identify compounds that can be used in combination with the protein TRAIL to induce apoptosis selectively in cancer cells. Identified leads will next be optimized using high-throughput microfluidic devices to determine the most effective treatment conditions. Finally, a rigorous mechanistic analysis will be conducted to understand how the FDA-approved drug mitoxantrone, sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis.

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Date Created
2013

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Nano- and micro-scale temperature measurements using laser-induced fluorescence thermometry

Description

A method of determining nanoparticle temperature through fluorescence intensity levels is described. Intracellular processes are often tracked through the use of fluorescence tagging, and ideal temperatures for many of these processes are unknown. Through the use of fluorescence-based thermometry, cellular

A method of determining nanoparticle temperature through fluorescence intensity levels is described. Intracellular processes are often tracked through the use of fluorescence tagging, and ideal temperatures for many of these processes are unknown. Through the use of fluorescence-based thermometry, cellular processes such as intracellular enzyme movement can be studied and their respective temperatures established simultaneously. Polystyrene and silica nanoparticles are synthesized with a variety of temperature-sensitive dyes such as BODIPY, rose Bengal, Rhodamine dyes 6G, 700, and 800, and Nile Blue A and Nile Red. Photographs are taken with a QImaging QM1 Questar EXi Retiga camera while particles are heated from 25 to 70 C and excited at 532 nm with a Coherent DPSS-532 laser. Photographs are converted to intensity images in MATLAB and analyzed for fluorescence intensity, and plots are generated in MATLAB to describe each dye's intensity vs temperature. Regression curves are created to describe change in fluorescence intensity over temperature. Dyes are compared as nanoparticle core material is varied. Large particles are also created to match the camera's optical resolution capabilities, and it is established that intensity values increase proportionally with nanoparticle size. Nile Red yielded the closest-fit model, with R2 values greater than 0.99 for a second-order polynomial fit. By contrast, Rhodamine 6G only yielded an R2 value of 0.88 for a third-order polynomial fit, making it the least reliable dye for temperature measurements using the polynomial model. Of particular interest in this work is Nile Blue A, whose fluorescence-temperature curve yielded a much different shape from the other dyes. It is recommended that future work describe a broader range of dyes and nanoparticle sizes, and use multiple excitation wavelengths to better quantify each dye's quantum efficiency. Further research into the effects of nanoparticle size on fluorescence intensity levels should be considered as the particles used here greatly exceed 2 ìm. In addition, Nile Blue A should be further investigated as to why its fluorescence-temperature curve did not take on a characteristic shape for a temperature-sensitive dye in these experiments.

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Date Created
2011

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Breaking the senescence: inhibition of ATM allows S9 cells to re-enter cell cycle

Description

The Philadelphia chromosome in humans, is on oncogenic translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 that gives rise to the fusion protein BCR-Abl. This protein is constitutively active resulting in rapid and uncontrolled cell growth in affected cells. The BCR-Abl protein

The Philadelphia chromosome in humans, is on oncogenic translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 that gives rise to the fusion protein BCR-Abl. This protein is constitutively active resulting in rapid and uncontrolled cell growth in affected cells. The BCR-Abl protein is the hallmark feature of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and is seen in Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases. Currently, the first line of treatment is the Abl specific inhibitor Imatinib. Some patients will, however, develop resistance to Imatinib. Research has shown how transformation of progenitor B cells with v-Abl, an oncogene expressed by the Abelson murine leukemia virus, causes rapid proliferation, prevents further differentiation and produces a potentially malignant transformation. We have used progenitor B cells transformed with a temperature-sensitive form of the v-Abl protein that allows us to inactivate or re-activate v-Abl by shifting the incubation temperature. We are trying to use this line as a model to study both the progression from pre-malignancy to malignancy in CML and Imatinib resistance in Ph+ ALL and CML. These progenitor B cells, once v-Abl is reactivated, in most cases, will not return to their natural cell cycle. In this they resemble Ph+ ALL and CML under Imatinib treatment. With some manipulation these cells can break this prolonged G1 arrested phenotype and become a malignant cell line and resistant to Imatinib treatment. Cellular senescence can be a complicated process requiring inter-play between a variety of players. It serves as an alternate option to apoptosis, in that the cell loses proliferative potential, but does not die. Treatment with some cancer therapeutics will induce senescence in some cancers. Such is the case with Imatinib treatment of CML and Ph+ ALL. By using the S9 cell line we have been able to explore the possible routes for breaking of prolonged G1 arrest in these Ph+ leukemias. We inhibited the DNA damage sensor protein ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and found that prolonged G1 arrest in our S9 cells was broken. While previous research has suggested that the DNA damage sensor protein ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) has little impact in CML, our research indicates that ATM may play a role in either senescence induction or release.

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Date Created
2011

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Molecular design and functional characterization portfolio of flavivirus therapeutics

Description

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with WNV outbreaks occurring in all areas around the world and

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with WNV outbreaks occurring in all areas around the world and DV epidemics in more than 100 countries. WNV is a neurotropic virus capable of causing meningitis and encephalitis in humans. Currently, there are no therapeutic treatments or vaccines available. The expanding epidemic of WNV demands studies that develop efficacious therapeutics and vaccines and produce them rapidly and inexpensively. In response, our lab developed a plant-derived monoclonal antibody (mAb) (pHu-E16) against DIII (WNV antigen) that is able to neutralize and prevent mice from lethal infection. However, this drug has a short window of efficacy due to pHu-E16's inability to cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) and enter the brain. Here, we constructed a bifunctional diabody, which couples the neutralizing activity of E16 and BBB penetrating activity of 8D3 mAb. We also produced a plant-derived E16 scFv-CH1-3 variant with equivalent specific binding as the full pHu-E16 mAb, but only requiring one gene construct for production. Furthermore, a WNV vaccine based on plant-derived DIII was developed showing proper folding and potentially protective immune response in mice. DV causes severe hemorrhaging diseases especially in people exposed to secondary DV infection from a heterotypic strain. It is hypothesized that sub-neutralizing cross-reactive antibodies from the first exposure aid the second infection in a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE depends on the ability of mAb to bind Fc receptors (FcγRs), and has become a major roadblock for developing mAb-based therapeutics against DV. We aim to produce an anti-Dengue mAb (E60) in different glycoengineered plant lines that exhibit reduced/differential binding to FcγRs, therefore, reducing or eliminating ADE. We have successfully cloned the molecular constructs of E60, and expressed it in two plant lines with different glycosylation patterns. We demonstrated that both plant-derived E60 mAb glycoforms retained specific recognition and neutralization activity against DV. Overall, our study demonstrates great strives to develop efficacious therapeutics and potent vaccine candidates against Flaviviruses in plant expression systems.

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Date Created
2014

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Plant-made biologics: human butyrylcholinesterase mutants for the treatment of cocaine addiction-related diseases

Description

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and acute cocaine toxicity (overdose) is only symptomatically treated. Studies have

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and acute cocaine toxicity (overdose) is only symptomatically treated. Studies have demonstrated a promising potential treatment option with the help of the human serum enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), an enzyme capable of breaking down cocaine into biologically inactive side products. This activity of wild-type BChE, however, is relatively low. This prompted the design of variants of BChE which exhibit significantly improved catalytic activity against cocaine. Plants were used as a sustainable, scalable, affordable platform system to produce large amounts of human biologics such as these cocaine hydrolase variants of BChE. Using a tobacco relative, Nicotiana benthamiana, recombinant enzymes can be produced at quantities relevant to clinical use with desired kinetic properties. Next, the ability of the most promising plant-produced cocaine super hydrolase, pCocSH, to counter the lethal effects of cocaine overdose in vivo was tested. These studies revealed that this plant-produced enzyme can protect mice from an otherwise lethal dose of cocaine. Most excitingly, it was found that pCocSH can rescue mice from overdose when given immediately after the onset of cocaine-induced seizures. These studies provide in vitro and in vivo proof-of-principle for a promising plant-derived biologic to be used as a pharmacokinetic-based treatment for cocaine addiction-related diseases such as overdose.

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Date Created
2015

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Drift-diffusion simulation of the ephaptic effect in the triad synapse of the retina

Description

A general continuum model for simulating the flow of ions in the salt baths that surround and fill excitable neurons is developed and presented. The ion densities and electric potential are computed using the drift-diffusion equations. In addition, a detailed

A general continuum model for simulating the flow of ions in the salt baths that surround and fill excitable neurons is developed and presented. The ion densities and electric potential are computed using the drift-diffusion equations. In addition, a detailed model is given for handling the electrical dynamics on interior membrane boundaries, including a model for ion channels in the membranes that facilitate the transfer of ions in and out of cells. The model is applied to the triad synapse found in the outer plexiform layer of the retina in most species. Experimental evidence suggests the existence of a negative feedback pathway between horizontal cells and cone photoreceptors that modulates the flow of calcium ions into the synaptic terminals of cones. However, the underlying mechanism for this feedback is controversial and there are currently three competing hypotheses: the ephaptic hypothesis, the pH hypothesis and the GABA hypothesis. The goal of this work is to test some features of the ephaptic hypothesis using detailed simulations that employ rigorous numerical methods. The model is first applied in a simple rectangular geometry to demonstrate the effects of feedback for different extracellular gap widths. The model is then applied to a more complex and realistic geometry to demonstrate the existence of strictly electrical feedback, as predicted by the ephaptic hypothesis. Lastly, the effects of electrical feedback in regards to the behavior of the bipolar cell membrane potential is explored. Figures for the ion densities and electric potential are presented to verify key features of the model. The computed steady state IV curves for several cases are presented, which can be compared to experimental data. The results provide convincing evidence in favor of the ephaptic hypothesis since the existence of feedback that is strictly electrical in nature is shown, without any dependence on pH effects or chemical transmitters.

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Agent

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Date Created
2013

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Examining the hypha: a review of growth, cytoplasmic organization, and ultrastructure in select fungi

Description

The distinguishing feature of the filamentous fungi is the hyphae - tube-like microscopic cells that exhibit polarized growth via apical extension and allow the fungus to interact with its environment. Fungi elongate at the hyphal apex, through the localized

The distinguishing feature of the filamentous fungi is the hyphae - tube-like microscopic cells that exhibit polarized growth via apical extension and allow the fungus to interact with its environment. Fungi elongate at the hyphal apex, through the localized construction of new plasma membrane and cell wall through the exocytosis of secretory vesicles. One population of these vesicles have been identified as chitosomes, containing chitin synthase isoenzymes, which are responsible for the polymerization of N-acetylglucosamine from UDP N-acetylglucosamine into chitin, the primary fibrillar component of the fungal cell wall. The chitosomes, in addition to other vesicles, can be observed aggregating in the hyphal tip in most filamentous fungi. In the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, this collection of vesicles exhibits discrete organization and has been termed a Spitzenkörper. Although accumulations of vesicles can be observed in the hyphal tip of many growing filamentous fungi, some debate continues as to what precisely defines a Spitzenkörper. This study reports the details of three separate projects: first, to document the effects of deleting a single chitin synthase, CHS-1 and CHS-6 in Neurospora crassa with regards to hyphal ultrastructure, cytoplasmic organization, and growth in comparison to the wild-type. Given the importance of chitin synthesis in fungal cell growth, deletion of a critical chitin synthase presumably impacts cell wall structure, fungal growth and cytoplasmic organization. Second, an examination of the ultrastructure of four zygomycetous fungi - Coemansia reversa, Mortierella verticillata, Mucor indicus, and Gilbertella persicaria has been conducted. Utilization of cryofixation and freeze-substitution techniques for electron microscopy has produced improved preservation of cytoplasmic ultrastructure, particularly at the hyphal apex, allowing detailed analysis of vesicle size, contents, and organization. Lastly, hyphal tip organization was reviewed in a broad range of fungi. Previous studies had either focused on a few select fungi or representative groups. Vesicle organization, composition and size do appear to vary among the classes of fungi, but some trends, like the vesicle crescent in the zygomycetous fungi have been documented.

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Date Created
2015

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Increasing T cell immunity to metastatic osteosarcoma via modulation of inhibitory T cell receptors

Description

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children and adolescents. Patients with metastatic osteosarcoma are typically refractory to treatment. Numerous lines of evidence suggest that cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) limit the development of metastatic osteosarcoma. I have investigated the role

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children and adolescents. Patients with metastatic osteosarcoma are typically refractory to treatment. Numerous lines of evidence suggest that cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) limit the development of metastatic osteosarcoma. I have investigated the role of Programmed Death Receptor-1 (PD-1) in limiting the efficacy of immune mediated control of metastatic osteosarcoma. I show that human metastatic, but not primary, osteosarcoma tumors express the ligand for PD-1 (PD-L1) and that tumor infiltrating CTL express PD-1, suggesting this pathway may limit CTL control of metastatic osteosarcoma in patients. PD-L1 is also expressed on the K7M2 osteosarcoma tumor cell line that establishes metastases in mice, and PD-1 is expressed on tumor infiltrating CTL during disease progression. Blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions dramatically improves the function of osteosarcoma-reactive CTL in vitro and in vivo, and results in decreased tumor burden and increased survival in the K7M2 mouse model of metastatic osteosarcoma. My results suggest that blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions in patients with metastatic osteosarcoma should be pursued as a therapeutic strategy. However, PD-1/PD-L1 blockade treated mice still succumb to disease due to selection of PD-L1 mAb resistant tumor cells via up-regulation of other co-inhibitory T cell receptors. Combinational α-CTLA-4 and α-PD-L1 blockade treated mice were able to completely eradicate metastatic osteosarcoma, and generate immunity to disease. These results suggest that blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions in patients with metastatic osteosarcoma, although improves survival, may lead to tumor resistance, requiring combinational immunotherapies to combat and eradicate disease.

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Date Created
2015