Developing fluorescent viability stain compounds and uses for anti-cancer drug screening

Breast cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in Canada, and affects one in X women during their lifetimes. A variety of different treatments have been tried, some of which damage cellular DNA of the quickly growing cancer cells. High-level DNA damage causes cells to die, and can shrink the tumour and arrest cancer growth. The Sabatinos lab studies how cells deal with DNA damage caused by drugs, and how this impacts their ability to grow and divide. A long-time drug used in cancer chemotherapy is a drug called cis-platinum. Our collaborator, Dr. R. Gossage, has generated new compounds that contain platinum, or, other metals such as copper, nickel or palladium. These compounds are predicted to also work for breast cancers, but must be tested in cell cultures. To do this we use a variety of dyes and stains that monitor cell proliferation, cell division, DNA replication, DNA damage and cell death. These tests give data that will inform which of the new metal-containing compounds, or compound families, is most promising at specifically targeting breast cancer cells while persevering non-cancer cells in the body. Koivisto Materials Consulting Inc is our industrial partner.

Intern: 
Gillian Okura
Faculty Supervisor: 
Sarah Sabatinos;Robert (Rob) Gossage
Province: 
Ontario
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