Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), also known as human liver cancer, is known to be one of the highest causes of death due to cancer. This cancer causes extreme liver cirrhosis, or inflammation, and prevents the liver from performing its functions of detoxification, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and bile production. HCC metastasizes much quicker compared to other cancers, and when it comes to that point, surgery is not very effective, it is resistant to most chemotherapeutic drugs, and radiation ends up being as harmful to the patient as the disease. As a result, around the last stages of HCC, the drugs to be used for treatment are unknown. However, we can combine two different drugs to maximize treatment effectiveness, which means to destroy the tumor at a low chemo dose.
In my project, I will be testing the effectiveness of combining Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel, two drugs that are known to promote apoptosis. Both are extremely toxic at a high dosage level, but when combining them, we hope to find a low combination dose. Each trial takes about 7 or 8 days, and data will be in the form of live cell count and protein expression.
I’ve been working in this cancer research lab for about 3/4 of a year. This lab work is very demanding and time consuming, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting and best experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve learned so much in such a short time about molecular and cellular biology, got used to working with cells and tissue culture, and I now understand what it would be like to do research in college. In one week, I’ve finished my first trial, and I’ve already got some promising results that show high cancer cell death from relatively low concentrations of both drugs. For the next few weeks, I will be walking all you readers through each lab procedure, how I acquire the data, how I interpret the data, and eventually, my results