Science Nonfiction: Samuel, Quail Eggs & Macy Easom

Each week we will be featuring the work of a scientist on the cc-TDI team to give you a view into the lab and an update on our progress. While some might argue that the Science Fiction genre is the most imaginative view of the scientific universe, we would argue that some of the actual science happening in our lab might be even more innovative and imaginative…. Hence, we have decided to call this new bog series: Science Nonfiction. If you’re a Science Fiction fan (or even if you’re not), sit back and get ready to learn.

Take it away, Samuel…

Samuel MicroscopeMy project is to design quail assay and equipment to conduct the assays efficiently. The quail assays will enable us to conduct experiments that better resemble the conditions that the drug and cancer would face in a living creature. We have been using this against a variety of hepatoblastoma cell lines in hopes of finding a cure.

Dina and I found some drug results that show promise against hepatoblastoma. I will be testing these compounds with the quail assay. As I test all of the drugs identified in our drug screen, I am also designing new experiments to be run. Metastasis is a major problem with cancer, and we can observe the entire metastatic cascade in quail due to the presence of circulatory systems. Another experiment we are trying is the direct application of tumor slices to the quail embryo. The quail engrafts the tumor slice, and we can then add drugs to be tested and see their effect against a piece of tissue directly from a tumor.

To keep things efficient at the lab, we all help out with maintaining equipment and setting up new machines. I have setup a batch of incubators we had donated, and we recently had a scanscope donated to us that I helped setup as well. The incubators have been setup so that we can run hypoxia experiments (hypoxia experiments involve incubating the cells at low oxygen levels typically around 5%). The scanscope will help us digitize our slides enabling us to share them with our collaborators across the world.

I am excited about the metastasis experiments I am conducting on the quail assay. Metastasis is difficult to study with a living organism when you need to observe all of the steps of the metastatic cascade. Quail Embryos give us the chance to observe the entire metastatic process in a petri dish that we can view under a microscope.

While no one that I have personally known has had pediatric cancer, I am impacted by those I never had a chance to know. My wife and I have both lost an uncle to pediatric cancer and the gap they left in our families continues to affect our communities to this day.

I would like to thank the Macy Easom Foundation for supporting me as we work toward a cure.

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