Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

El-Shenawee, Magda

Reader

Ivey, Mack

Second Reader

Evans, Timothy

Third Reader

Thallapuranam, Suresh Kumar

Abstract

In this research, different methods were investigated to grow in-vitro breast cancer tumors embedded in gel using the 4T1 cell line. The goal of this research was to test a new medical imaging modality available at the University of Arkansas using terahertz (THz) waves. The THz imaging and spectroscopy system has shown capability of high-resolution imaging and characterization of human breast tumors fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. In order to further examine this new imaging system in a laboratory environment, attempts to grow breast tumors in-vitro were conducted. Results were produced in two different environments, flat-bottomed plates and round-bottomed multiwell plates. In the first, a layer of a non-adhesive gel was applied to the bottom of the plate and an indention was created in which the cancer cells could grow. Another layer of gel mixed with cells and their food source was added on top of the bottom layer. The cells continued to divide and clump together until clusters form, which eventually developed into one or more tumors. The gel encasing the mass was meant to mimic the margin around breast tumors. For the second environment, round-bottomed multiwell plates, a thin layer of non-adhesive gel coated the bottom of the wells and was applied in a way that retained the rounded shape. A solution of media and cells was added on top of the gel and incubated to allow the cells to grow together and form a solid spheroid. This method allowed for faster clumping and increased cell aggregation so the spheroids were larger than those produced in the first method. These methods show great promise for providing a reliable, parameter-controlled source of breast tumors for research needs. The ultimate goal of THz imaging is to illuminate excised tumors to assess the margins during the surgery and hence preventing cancer metastasis.

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