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LSU students' project could aid research into breast cancer cells

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BATON ROUGE - As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, chemical engineering students at LSU are conducting a study that could one day save lives. 

The study, led by LSU Chemical Engineering Associate Professor Dr. Adam Melvin and LSU Biological Engineering Assistant Professor Elizabeth Martin, researches the way cancer cells communicate with one another. A sample of triple negative breast cancer cells are being used for the research, as they are a very aggressive form of cancer cells. 

"The cells act like a bully, convincing their neighbors to help them," " Dr. Melvin said. "Understanding how they con neighboring cells into joining them will give us a better understanding on how to treat cancer." 

A one-of-a-kind device designed by one of the undergraduate researchers, Emmaline Miller, is being used to assess the intercellular communication. 

"This device is interesting because we can check it at multiple time points," Miller said. "The goal is to do long-term culturing, which is two weeks... We now have the opportunity to look at them every six to 12 hours... This gives us a more precise idea if they initially say one thing and do another or if the concentration changes." 

With the project aiming for completion this spring, the group is preparing to begin experimental trials in the coming weeks. 


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