Field:

  • Cancers
  • Kidney disease

Location: Princess Alexandra Hospital

Type of student: Volunteer/extra-curricular

Type of work: 

  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Wet lab work

Project Background: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a deadly and difficult-to-treat cancer, especially when it has metastasised from the original kidney tumours to secondary sites like brain, lung and liver. We have established novel and practical methods to monitor therapeutics for RCC patients using 3-D culture of patient tumours. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been relatively successful, but recently interest has re-emerged for the use of immunotherapeutics. We will investigate novel combination therapies using our model. This project will contribute to realistic individualized treatment plans for RCC patients.

Research question, hypothesis and aims: Despite advances in RCC therapies including various targeted drugs approved in recent years, metastatic RCC is still incurable and fatal because of the heterogeneity of patients’ responses. The hypothesis is that a personalized therapeutic approach is the key to improving RCC patient outcome. The specific aim is to establish novel models to assess therapeutic effects on primary patient RCC cultures in vitro using real time cell-cycle analysis and state-of-the-art multiphoton microscopy (MPM).

Methods: Aberrant cell cycle progression is a hallmark of solid tumors; therefore cell cycle analysis is an invaluable technique to study cancer cell biology and to assess therapeutic effects. We will use flow cytometry and specialised microscopy to determine the effect of therapies on RCC cells within their natural environment in real-time. Novel TKI drugs and immunotherapeutics will be trialed, singly and in combination, using the 3D patient-derived RCC model.

Innovation: There is no published information about the spatio-temporal dynamics of RCC cell division in vivo. This will be the first time anyone has imaged the cell cycle over the course of RCC tumorigenesis in vivo and will generate new mechanistic insights into RCC biology and responses to therapy.

Prerequisite skills: Molecular biology, biomedical lab experience, flow cytometry

Supervisor

Associate Professor Glenda Gobe

Associate Professor Glenda Gobe

Co-Director
Centre for Kidney Disease Research