Nanoparticles as Potential Screening Devices for Invasive Gliomas

Project Title: Nanoparticles as Potential Screening Devices for Invasive Gliomas

Project Duration: May 23 – July 29, 2016 (10 weeks), 40 hours per week.

Project Mentors

  • Primary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone): Lohitash Karumbaiah, University of Georgia,, 706-542-2017
  • Secondary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone): Leidong Mao, University of Georgia,
  • Graduate Student/PostDoc mentors (Name, Affiliation and Email/Phone): Meghan Logun, University of Georgia,

Project Description: Grade IV astrocytomas called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are the most aggressive type of primary brain tumors encountered in humans. The median survival rate for an individual suffering from GBM is 15 months. Current treatments involve surgical resection of the tumor mass, followed by chemo– and radiation therapies. However, GBM is recalcitrant to these current treatments owing to the vast cellular heterogeneity associated with the tumor, and its invasive nature. GBM is characterized by the rapid migration of individual cells from the tumor mass thereby escaping early detection. Current methodologies involve laborious and time-consuming histopathological review of biopsied brain tumor tissue to determine malignancy, which can severely delay early diagnosis and treatment. In this study, we propose to exploit the desirable attributes of microfluidics, nanoparticles, and engineered 3D glycosaminoglycan (GAG) scaffolds to detect tumor invasiveness within a few hours. We hypothesize that invasive tumor cells will demonstrate enhanced uptake of magnetic iron-oxide (FeO2) nanoparticles when compared to other tumor associated cells, and that the invasive FeO2 laden cells will demonstrate enhanced migration through engineered GAG scaffolds when compared to other tumor associated cell types. In order to test this hypothesis, we will use a two stage ferrofluidic separation and microfluidic invasion assay platform to selectively separate and quantify invasive glioma cells. If successful, this platform technology could be applied in a clinical setting to facilitate the rapid screening and diagnosis of invasive GBM, and help the physician rapidly develop personalized treatment regimens to the patient.

REU Student Role and Responsibility: The REU student will learn cell culture skills as well as the use and application of different microfluidics and nanoparticle platforms, and will be using these skills to carry out experiments that will contribute to our project. The student will acquire a basic understanding of cancer and will participate in experimentation with innovative approaches and techniques to evaluating cancer metastasis. The student will be motivated to give intellectual input into the project and research independently with confidence.

Expected Outcome for REU student: The student’s work will contribute to a journal publication and conference poster presentations for the lab group members. This work will be credited with co-authorship on any and all publications that reference the research done by the student.