Date of Award

6-12-2017

Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only

Publisher

Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.

Department

Bioengineering

First Advisor

Unyoung Kim

Abstract

Current cancer research uses two-dimensional cell culture methods for cytotoxicity testing and for the study of cell signaling. These methods do not demonstrate the same physiological conditions that exist in vivo, which weakens the predictive capability of some elements of cancer research. There is an immediate need to create predictive cell-based assays that can allow for high throughput testing of cytotoxicity and cell signaling patterns in the 3D cultures, as this will create a better understanding of tumor biology and eventually lead to better cancer treatments. The signaling patterns that we will investigate are those within and between 3D cancer cell spheroids using cellular communication shuttles called exosomes. We will also incorporate a microfluidic device that will facilitate high-throughput testing in shared conditions, thereby eliminating error due to varying environmental factors. Our research on the signaling differences between 3D and 2D environments will help inform the fundamental questions of tumor biology and will aid physicians and cancer researchers in the treatment and study of disease.

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