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Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:21 pm

Hi!
I was reading about culturing MCF-7 cells to use as a model for my research, but I realized the amount of time it takes for this entire project. Due to a limited time of two months (correct me if I am incorrect about the time it takes to culture these cells) I have thought that if I expose an organism with carcinogens like formaldehyde, will this method be a faster way instead of culturing cell lines? Or possibly first exposing my organism with anti-cancer drug (plant extract that I have formulated) then exposing it to carcinogens. Then I will see which grew tumors and which have not.

Thanks!

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby FRickels » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:16 am

Hi scienceanddogsareawesome!

This sounds like a cool idea for a project! From what I've read, the doubling time is about 24 hours after a 48 hour lag period. Depending on how many trials you are doing and if you're doing them all at the same time, this could fit in your time restraints. Exposing an organism with formaldehyde could work too, depending on which organism you plan on using (make sure it's humane and follows your school's project regulations). The third idea you proposed sounds like a quicker alternative to the MCF-7 cells. Most of the effects of formaldehyde on an organism's cells should show up within 24 hours or so and there will be a testable difference since you will be using an anti-cancer drug. Make sure if you are going to be exposing an organism to formaldehyde to review the safety for handling the chemical, as it holds potential health risks.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

FRickels
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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:30 pm

Hi FRickels!
Thanks for your advice! I plan on using Zebra Danio as my model organism. What model organisms would you recommend for cancer treatment research? I would culture MCF-7 cells if I had much more time, but I'm limited to 2 months. Also which chemical carcinogens should I use that would require use of a BSL 2 lab?
Thank you!!
A.D.S :)

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:40 pm

Also are there other model organisms that are used in cancer treatment research that are invertebrates?

Thanks,
ADS

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby PharmaMan » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:48 pm

Hello,

This sounds like an interesting project, but there may be some potential issues not only with your time constraints but with access to the proper resources if you do not already have them. For projects dealing with cancer therapeutics, in general, cell culture is going to be much faster than testing a compound in an animal model. However, you most certainly need to conduct these experiments in a university-level laboratory. MCF-7 cells, just like other cancer cell lines, need to cultured under very strict conditions using special reagents. Do you have any connections to be able to have access to a university laboratory?

I can't speak to testing invertebrates, but the gold standard in the cancer research field is to establish tumors in mouse models. This alone can take several weeks. Between establishing tumors and the subsequent treatment, just one experiment like this can take more than one month and is very costly. If you were to use an invertebrate model, again, it would likely have to be done under controlled conditions such as those established in university laboratories. Furthermore, you would have to know that whatever you are observing are indeed tumors and not some other physiological event after you administer your carcinogen.

Your third suggestion sounds more like a chemoprevention model. You can set up a project this way, but it is different than treating an already established tumor because the cells that you are treating in each setup can be genetically different.

Let us know what resources you have access to. This will help us to determine how you can proceed with your project.

Pharma

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:58 pm

Hi Pharma!
At my school we're in the middle of finding labs for projects that require them! I also have some connections that can refer me to their colleagues. I only have 2 months till this project is due. Since we're entering science fair, we need to get IRB and SRC committee approvals on our project. If I will be using vertebrates such as mice, at the moment I believe that my chances of being approved for research on establishing tumors in mice are going to be very slim. Also the SRC has said that we should not do anything inhumane to the vertebrates. Is exposing carcinogens to zebra danio fish inhumane? Due to time, I've read that getting a hold of cell lines is a process that'll take months. I thought of going into the side of using model organisms, and maybe in high school be able to move onto cell lines. I've read that the zebra fish is a good model organism for cancer treatment research. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for me? That'll help a ton! So my plan was basically to expose these fish to my plant extract that upholds many anti-cancer properties, then expose them to carcinogens. May I ask how I would expose these fish to the carcinogens?
Thank you so much, this project means a lot to me!
A.D.S

ps. so sorry for all the questions.

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby PharmaMan » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:03 pm

Ok great! Obtaining access to the right resources will be the most important step in your project. Sounds like you are reaching out to find an appropriate place for your experiments. I understand there are different levels of approval that sometimes need to be established, and that can take some time as well.

You are correct in that doing experiments with mice will likely not be the best approach for your project. I am not familiar with any carcinogen exposure/humane procedures using zebrafish. You would have to find a lab that performs this particular type of research because they will be able to not only guide you through the appropriate experiments, but will also answer all your experimental questions along the way. There are probably protocols set up that use fish of a certain age, a particular dose of carcinogen over a specified time, and how to specifically analyze tumor growth over time.

Also as FRickels suggested, doing a cell culture experiment will fit into your time limits. Many labs have the appropriate cell lines already being cultured or store them as frozen stocks. Even if frozen, they typically take less than 1 week to grow and prepare for a treatment. It can be as little as a few days. The situation is different if the lab needs to order the cell line. Then you are looking at a longer wait; but if the lab already has it, you can do some experiments quickly. And MCF-7 is a pretty commonly-used cell line if I remember correctly. Many labs will already have it, especially if they deal with breast cancer research.

You can expose your fish to your extract first. However, this is more of a chemoprevention setup. The experiments can certainly be done this way. But exposing the fish to your extract and then the carcinogen will likely follow an established protocol set up in a lab experienced with using zebrafish as a model for cancer research.

Let us know if you have further questions. And no problem, ask as many questions as you need. This is your project!

Best of luck!

Pharma

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:11 pm

Hello Pharma!
Thanks for your guidance and support! https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/canc ... er-origins

This link is where I first learned about zebra danio and how effective it is in cancer treatment research. If I change my project over to MCF-7 Cell lines, I would have to change my entire research plan. I would do that if I knew for sure that this lab that I'll possibly be in, has them. I'm just playing safe with time. I was thinking for high school, since I learned from this year about such cell lines, I might test them for next years project. If you do not mind, how will I expose the anti-cancer plant extract to the fish, and how will I expose them to formaldehyde. Finally is it considered inhumane to exposing these zebra danio fish to carcinogens such as formaldehyde? Is there a high chance that my project proposal will be approved, since zebra danio fish are vertebrates?

Thank you,
A.D.S

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby PharmaMan » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:40 pm

You're very welcome. Honestly, I can't speak to treating zebrafish as I don't have experience with this. You will need to get in contact with someone who does this type of research. They can tell you how to treat with the various chemicals and what is humane/inhumane.

The approval of your project will be up to the decision of your school committees it seems, and I would get in touch with your teacher to help you to determine this. My opinion is that two months is likely too short of a time to be able to do an experiment with model organisms, and it seems that there will be a lot of delays before you may be able to even start. I'm assuming that you have two months from now, so late November is the deadline?

Pharma

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:28 pm

Yes, the deadline for the project is tentative, but most likely late November to early December. I believe that using zebra danio as a model organism would be faster for me than culturing cancer cell lines, since I do not want to take the risk of possibly waiting months to get a hold of the cell lines. Also even if the labs do provide cell lines, will I a 8th grader be able to experiment with them?

Sincerely,
A.D.S

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby PharmaMan » Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:20 pm

As I mentioned, a cell culture experiment will be much quicker. Growing the fish, then treating them for a period of time, and then analyzing tumor growth will be longer than working with cells. A cell culture treatment experiment can be completed in a matter of days. With an in vivo experiment, you could be looking at several weeks just for one experiment.

If you did cell culture, what you would have to make sure of is if the lab currently has the cells in stock. If they do, no problem, and you can begin immediately. However, doing the experiments either way, in fish or in cells, would definitely have you paired up with a member of that lab to perform the experiment. They won't let you be on your own as you are not a trained member of their lab.

Pharma

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby scienceanddogsareawesome » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:30 pm

Hi Pharma,
I will not be growing the fish, because of course that would take much longer. I will buy them at my local pet store. Trust me, I would love to use cell cultures instead, but I cannot because I can't guarantee that the lab that I'll hopefully get accepted in, will supply them.

Thanks,
A.D.S

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Re: Anti-cancer drug research for science fair

Postby PharmaMan » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:58 am

Sounds good. Ask around and see if your instructors know or if they have any contacts that deal with zebrafish research. They will be able to guide you more thoroughly in the fine details of your experiments. Let us know if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

Pharma


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