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Browsing by Subject "breast cancer"

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  • Heilala, Maria (2019)
    Despite the advances in the management of breast cancer, discovery of novel and targeted drugs remains a challenge. It has been suggested that drug failure rates in clinical trials might be diminished by improving the predictive potential of preclinical cancer models. Three-dimensional (3D) scaffold-based cell culture has emerged as an attractive platform for mimicking tissue-like microenvironment, since it is well-known that cells respond to the cues in the extracellular matrix (ECM). The aim of this thesis was to develop fibrin-based hydrogels and evaluate their performance in 3D cell culture of breast cancer cells. The fibrin gel formulation was first optimized by testing the effect of different buffers on gel properties. Structural properties were examined with scanning electron microscopy and mechanical properties measured with oscillatory rheometry. Three different fibrin concentrations of the optimized formulation were then used as scaffolds for DU4475 breast cancer cells. After seven days of culture, the morphology, phenotype and proliferation of the resulting cell structures were assessed by using techniques such as light microscopy, immunofluorescent confocal microscopy and Western blot analysis. The desired properties for 3D cell culture were obtained by preparing fibrin gels at high pH in the absence of calcium. The main finding of the thesis was that fibrin concentration strongly affected the phenotype of DU4475 cells, with cells cultured in the softest gel retaining their original characteristics to the greatest extent. In the future, the developed scaffold could possibly be used in drug discovery and personalized medicine by culturing tumor explants from patients. However, the methods used in the study must be further optimized and the results validated with other breast cancer cell lines and with primary tissues.
  • Savelius, Mariel (2020)
    Breast cancer remains as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the most aggressive breast cancer subtypes and lacks targetable receptors, consequently, cannot be treated with current hormone of anti-HER2 targeting therapies. Thus, there is a need for discovering novel and well-tolerated therapies. MYC is a proto-oncogene and a transcription factor, that is frequently amplified and overexpressed in breast cancers. MYC is involved in many cellular processes promoting cell proliferation, however, overexpression of MYC can also sensitize cells to replicative stress and apoptotic cell death. In our previous studies we have shown that pharmacological activation of AMPK, a cellular energy sensor, synergises with Bcl-2 family inhibitors, such as navitoclax and venetoclax, and activates MYC-dependent apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines, transgenic mouse models of MYC-dependent mammary tumorigenesis and in MYC-high patient-derived explant cultures (PDECs). In subsequent study we observed, that indirect AMPK activator metformin alone inhibited tumor growth in vivo, but did not induce apoptosis in mouse tumors or in PDECs. Metformin, a type II diabetes mellitus drug, has shown anti-cancer effects in some population studies and is under investigation for a cancer therapies, however the whole mechanism of action in cancer is still not well-known. To elucidate metformin’s effects on MYC overexpressing triple-negative breast cancer cells, I will present, that metformin has anti-proliferative effects and show that long term metformin treatment induces senescence biomarkers in MYC-high TNBC breast cancer cell lines. To study metformin's short and long-term anti-proliferative activity, cell proliferation during and after drug treatment was investigated, which showed, that metformin’s effects do not seem to persist long after drug withdrawal. In conclusion, the key observation of this thesis was, that metformin does inhibit the proliferation of MYC overexpressing cancer cells and presents a senescence phenotype that possibly can be exploited to find new targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer patients.
  • Korvenmaa, Päivi (2020)
    Female breast cancer incidence rate has been growing world-wide and it is the most common cancer in women. In the battle against the breast cancer mortality, early detection is the strongest tool. This is the reason why national mammography screening programs are widely established for selected age groups, usually for women between 50 to 70 years old. Although it is well established that these programs save lives, mammography screening is not feasible to apply to younger and/or older groups due to increasing radiation load as well as economically. There is a room for a non-invasive, easy and cost-effective breast imaging modality, which could be used for all age groups e.g. in connection with regular health checks. In this theses breast cancer as a disease and its present clinical diagnostic tools are presented. As a possible new pre-diagnostic tool, infrared imaging combined with modern analytical and machine learning tools, is introduced. Also, preliminary results of an on-going study are presented, which encourage to continue the development.
  • Id, Linda (2022)
    Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the world and among women the most cancer deaths causing cancer. MYC is a proto-oncogene, which becomes oncogenic when its expression is deregulated in cancer. MYC is commonly overexpressed in human tumours and this alteration is associated with aggressive cancer phenotype. Furthermore, alterations in the MYC network have been found in the great majority of breast cancers. MYC promotes mitochondrial apoptosis causing a cancer vulnerability, however, in cancer cells the apoptosis is often prevented by antiapoptotic BCL-2 family members. In this study, cell viability and cell death analysis of treated triple-negative breast cancer cell lines together with dendritic cell activation experiments were conducted. This study aimed to find the most potent BCL-2 family antagonist (BH3 mimetic) to combine with metformin to overcome the antiapoptotic BCL-2 family proteins inhibition of MYC-induced apoptosis. In addition, this study determined whether the combinations could induce immunogenic cell death to further intensify cancer cell killing through anti-tumour immunity. In this study, BH3 mimetics combined with metformin were found to induce cell death and reduce cell viability in TNBC cell lines. In addition, metformin and BH3 mimetics were found to activate dendritic cells directly and through immunogenic cell death of cancer cells. However, no MYC-dependent cell death or immunogenic cell death were observed, and this study was unable to indicate the most potent BH3 mimetic to combine with metformin.