Radiation therapy is one of the most commonly used cancer treatments. It is damaging to not only cancer cells but also to healthy cells, limiting the amount of radiation that can be administered to patients. The combination of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) and radiotherapy has become a prominent area of research for cancer treatment. Previous research has shown that GNPs act as radiosensitizers, making cancerous cells more susceptible to radiotherapy. Using GNPs to kill more cancer cells with lower radiation doses reduces the severity of side effects. This characteristic can be attributed to gold's high atomic number and its ability to produce photoelectrons and Auger electrons. Photoelectrons are released when an inner shell electron absorbs a high-energy beam and leaves the atom in a high-energy state. Auger electrons are released when higher shell electrons move to an inner shell to stabilize the atom. These electrons are responsible for damaging cancer cells even further. Due to their low energy, they do not travel far from the cancer site and are less likely to damage healthy cells. Another advantage of using gold, compared to other high atomic number elements, is its imaging contrast, biocompatibility and lower toxicity (1). The aim of this research is to see how GNPs coupled with different radiation doses impact cellular mechanisms of the Capan-1 cell line. Radiation kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA or by creating free radicals that in turn damage DNA (1). By focusing on expression of proteins that are in relation with apoptosis, cell proliferation and DNA repair/damage as well as the change in reactive oxygen species within the cells, it is possible to see the cellular mechanisms of how GNPs radiosensitize cells. (1) Ngwa, W., Kumar, R., Sidhar S., Korideck, H., Zygmanski, P., Cormack, R., Berbeco, R., Makrigiorgos G. M. Targeted radiotherapy with gold nanoparticles: current status and future perspectives. Nanomedicine. (2014); 9(7): 1063-1082.
CaNCURE provides trainees with a 6-month hands-on research experience and one-on-one mentoring by leading researchers in cancer nanomedicine. Projects performed by current and past participants include:
While on co-op, trainees document their research in an e-portfolio. This gives trainees the opportunity to provide regular updates on their research progress, reflect on training they are receiving, and explain how their research fits within the field of cancer nanomedicine. These research e-portfolios can be accessed through individual trainee profiles. The complete collection may be found here.
Presentation at CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day
At the completion of their co-op, trainees are provided with the opportunity to present their research to a wider audience. In our 1st annual CaNCURE Nanomedicine Day, trainees prepared interactive, digital posters to display on electronic poster boards. Over 100 faculty, students, and researchers attended our first event!
Check out the news article and congrats to all the poster winners!
Jordan Harris: Most Innovative Cancer Research Award
Jeremy Thong: Best Undergraduate Research Poster Award
Craig Pille: Most Promising Translational Research Award
Bryan Kynnap: Most Promising Basic Science Award
Jordan Harris: Top Chemical Engineering Poster Award