• Project Title: Drug Combination Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Brown

  • Internship Location: Stanford University

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Ramasamy Paulmurugan

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is a type of primary liver cancer that has already metastasized by the time of diagnosis. In advanced cases, most current treatment options are not very effective, because of its high drug and chemo-resistance, difficulty of surgical removal, and proneness to relapse. My project addresses how to treat hepatocellular carcinoma, through research on the effectiveness of a combination of Doxorubicin and Paclitoxin, two drugs, in HepG2 cells (liver cancer cells). Doxorubicin is a drug that is known to induce apoptotic pathways in cells, but it targets all cells. However, when paired with the engineered drug Paclitoxin, it can bind selectively to the cancerous liver cells. From this lab research at Stanford University, I will be checking the effectiveness of combining these two drugs by using two methods: checking cell count via FAX analysis and evaluating protein expression via Western Blot. Expected results will include low HepG2 cell count and low expression of proteins associated with HCC. There are 24 total conditions or combinations, from which I will continue testing the best 10. If this project produces promising results, it can be the precedent for using more specific chemotherapeutic treatment. Furthermore, the chemicals and medications will be more centralized to the area of the disease, rather than spread out, which would adversely affect other parts of the body.