Science Nonfiction: Megan, aRMS & Neighbor Cells

ARMS rhabdomyosarcoma cytokine pathway

The last 6 months have been busy!

            Recently, I have been finishing up sets of experiments which help us understand the mode of action responsible for different cellular responses we have observed in aRMS cells. One aspect of my project is to investigate the ways that aRMS cells “communicate” with normal cells, and vice versa. Most cells have the capability of signaling to other cells through proteins called cytokines, which are made in then secreted out of the cell. These cytokines in turn affect neighboring cells in different ways, and part of my work has been to elucidate how the signals from aRMS cells affect normal cells, and how normal cells act on aRMS cells. These experiments have been time consuming, and I have just begun to analyze the data and results this month. These experiments will result in the first published data on how this cytokine signaling pathway works in aRMS, and most importantly, will take us a step closer to identifying targets of therapies for children who suffer from this fatal disease. 

            In addition to the in vitro work I have been doing, I’ve moved forward on the in vivo testing of an already FDA approved drug and how it affects both aRMS and osteosarcoma tumor establishment and growth. These results will give us insight into the use of this drug as a first line therapy, or if it will be better suited as an adjuvant therapy.

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