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Patrick Sheedy

Health Sciences, '19


Investigation of a miRNA associated with cancer metastasis. Proj 2-Development of a novel nanoparticle for MPI analysis of thromboses

Mentor: Zdravka Medarova, Ph.D. (MGH)

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs that were recently discovered and are becoming increasingly studied for their role cells. MiRNAs are used by the cell in conjunction with the RISC complex to post-transcriptionally control the expression of proteins. It has been demonstrated that miRNAs are differentially expressed in different tissues throughout the body and correlated with the pathology of cancer and other diseases. Using the differential expression of miRNA, diagnostic and therapeutic processes can be developed. A previous study analyzed the miRNA expression in BALB/c mice implanted with a 4T1 cell line. Candidate miRNAs were identified based on differential expression in metastatic sites versus the primary tumor. A miRNA was selected, based on the predicted mRNA targets, to be studied in vitro. Mimics of the miRNA will be used to study the effects of restoring expression of the miRNA in 4T1 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Understanding the miRNA’s mechanism will allow for the design of a diagnostic or therapeutic device to better treat metastatic cancers. Project 2: Carboxylmethyldextran-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) can be viewed using magnetic particle imaging, which is an imaging method allowing for high resolution with high contrast. I am developing a protocol to attach fibrin-adherent peptides to the SPIONs. Fibrin is the principle protein constituent of clotted blood. The SPIONs are quickly pulled from circulation, leaving the SPIONs adhered to the blood clot. This method will be studied for future clinical use in identifying and imaging thromboses.