Student Researcher: Nivin Nyström, PhD Student, Western University
Project Title: Improving the monitoring of triple-negative breast cancer metastasis in preclinical models with organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP)-enhanced multi-modality imaging
Approximately 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive form of the disease. TNBC cells lack proteins on their membranes that are commonly found in other forms of breast cancer. These proteins are like beacons, permitting drugs to “seek and destroy” those cancer cells. Consequently, treatments for other breast cancers are ineffective for TNBC. To accurately study the disease and assess candidate therapies for TNBC, this project involves imaging of animal models of TNBC. To visualize the TNBC cells in this research model, we are developing a gene-based imaging technology that would allow us to identify the anatomic location and movement of TNBC cells within the animal with sensitivity, specificity and 3D spatial information. Upon its establishment, we can then use this system to study the disease and test new therapies.