Saturday, June 19, 2010

First week of summer immersion

It's my first time to come to New York city. In the first week, somehow I feel sleepy every day although I didn't have too much work to do compared to when I was in Ithaca. I was extremely impressed to see a couple of well-known institutes and universities here, some of which are just nearby my dorm. I didn't do too much clinical stuff this week because one of my doctors was away. So, I spent most of my time in research with the other doctor. In general, my project is about colon cancer. Previously, the lab harvested liver cell samples from several colon cancer patients. Depending on the stage of cancer, some of those patients might have got live metastasis. So, our objective is to analyze liver cell samples by immunochemistry.

More specifically, it has been shown that colon tumorgenesis is caused by cancer-initiating cell, i.e. cancer stem cell which accounts for only a small portion of the bulk tumor while the left cancer cells are not capable of either tumorgenesis or metastasis. So, for patients who have developed liver metastasis, we are more interested to see if there are colon cancer stem cells metastatized from colon. Since cancer stem cell is presumed to be responsible for tumorgenesis and metastasis while is more recalcitrant to conventional chemotherapy than normal cancer cell, the end goal is to come up with a strategy to get rid of them as opposed to the bulk tumor which is novel and more promissing given the high failure rate after metastasis.

While it sounds a long way to this end, I am hoping I can learn more on cancer biology by taking the clinical advantage here.

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