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In 2018, $75,000 was awarded to Researchers at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Julie Ostrander, PhD outlines her project as: The role of PELP1 and PELP1 mutations in colorectal cancer biology

“Our current research is focused on determining if the PELP1 mutant identified in colon cancer tumors (known as L798Cfs*) promotes cancer phenotypes, such as proliferation, growth in soft agar, cell migration and invasion, and cancer stem cell phenotypes. We plan to begin in vivo studies involving the production of tumors (tumorigenesis) after January 1st, 2019. Our analysis of the existing literature indicates that L798Cfs* is found in more tumors than initially reported, further suggesting a role in cancer biology.”

Subree Subramanian, PhD outlines his project as: Host-microbiome metabolic interactions in colorectal cancer

“The gut microbiome plays a vital role in colorectal cancer pathogeny. This project will track three different models of colorectal cancer to better understand the contributions of the gut microbiome toward the initiation, progression, and metastasis of colorectal cancer. The data generated through this funding significantly helped us to submit projects for the Chainbreaker award and NIH grant applications and to expand our work in humanized mouse models of the gut microbiome.”

Robert Cormier, PhD outlines his project as: Investigating underlying mechanisms of KCNQ1 tumor suppression using colorectal cancer liver metastasis-derived organoid models

“We are isolating tissues from liver metastases in our colon cancer metastasis mouse model, comparing animals that are mutant or wildtype for the KCNQ1 potassium channel and then creating 3D tissue organoids from the metastases. We will then optimize protocols for the measurement of oncogenic phenotypes in the liver metastasis organoids; in particular, we are measuring the growth rate of individual organoids over several days using digital imaging, hoping to determine if loss of KCNQ1 influences the growth rate of the organoids. We have developed a novel immunocytochemistry imaging protocol to visualize changes in gene expression in 3D liver metastasis organoids as well as their localization within individual cells of the organoids, which is especially useful to track changes in expression of growth stimulatory genes in the organoids.”