The Methodist Hospital Research Institute awarded $11.5M NIH grant for research into methods of targeting cancer stem cells

November 03, 2015

The biological component will use new experimental imaging methods to identify, localize, purify and characterize the cancer stem cells. Tumor initiating cells cannot be seen using traditional imaging techniques. Methodist has invested in high resolution microcopy that can see at nanometer, rather than millimeter resolution, including a confocal laser scanning microscope, a Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) microscope, and an in vivo multi-photon laser scanning microscope. Additional protocols will be designed to understand the stem cell's ability to metastasize, including spatial localization and movement, and specific changes in gene expression and cellular signaling of breast cancer stem cells.

For the mathematical modeling component, the team will develop bioinformatics and bio-imaging models to integrate and analyze the data generated from biological experiments. They will use the information obtained from data analysis and biological knowledge to build computer-based models to mimic the cells' behavior and drug treatment response.

Besides providing a basic framework for understanding breast cancer stem cell evolution, the models will allow us to predict how the natural process of cancer development will play out in various circumstances, Wong said. The ultimate goal is better, more effective treatment for eliminating breast cancer in our patients.

SOURCE The Methodist Hospital Research Institute