Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cancer Research
Sydnei Hall - Louisiana State University
Co-Author(s): Ethan Byrnek, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Breast cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer related death among women in the United States. Approximately 70% of all breast cancers cases are estrogen receptor positive with primary therapy being endocrine therapy. Ultimately, patients may develop resistance to endocrine therapy and require more alternative treatment options. To identify novel compounds that may act as anti-cancer therapies in estrogen receptor positive cancer cell lines, we sought to identify the biological effects of lignin on the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line.
Lignin is a plant-based, phenolic compound that has three monomers: p-coumaryl, coniferyl alcohol and sinapyl alcohol. Lignin is a key factor in the formation of cell walls of wood and bark because of how it does not rot and also the rigidity. It is expected that the use of lignin for the treatment on MCF-7 breast cancer cell strain will decrease cell proliferation. To test this hypothesis, we manipulated which lignin monomer and what concentration of lignin will lead to the optimal decrease of cell proliferation.
The methodology consisted of: cell culture, amplification of cDNA using Estrogen receptor mediated gene quantification (qRT-PCR), protein validation (western blot), and absorbance to determine cell proliferation (crystal violet). Initial results demonstrate that lignin can inhibit cellular proliferation and induce transcription gene changes ins a series of genes associated with cancer progression. Together this preliminary data suggests that lignin may have an anti-cancer effect in estrogen receptor positive tumors.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I thank Dr. Elizabeth Martin, and Graduate Assistants Ethan and Connor, for training me and allowing me to utilize the Department of Biological Engineering equipment. The Louis-Stokes, Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation program at LSU, supported this study. The Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars program at LSU supported this study as well.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I counted the cells, made cDNA from RNA extraction, PCR and crystal violet staining. Under the supervision of Ethan, I was instructed on how to extract RNA using Qiagin's lab kit. After making cDNA, the qRT-PCR was run to amplify the DNA. The cell cultures were incubated (DMSO media) over a span of days to let the Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Cancer cells multiply/grow. Once a significant amount was obtained, I counted the cells. Following the cell culture, the cancer cell culture were injected with one of the three lignin monomers. After a span of days, I performed a crystal violet stain to see the absorbance of cells in the culture (proliferation of cancer cells). Everything that was performed in the lab was under the supervision of Ethan.