The primary treatment for breast cancer is surgery, which does not achieve complete removal of all the tumour in 25% of patients who therefore require a further operation. This is then often followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and endocrine treatment. The aim of this project is to utilise the cancer cells to biosynthesise a fluorescent tool for image guided surgery (IGS) and understand how this biological process works. Tools will specifically delineate the tumour margins and allow for better resection of the tumour and lessen the need for a second surgery. In this study breast cancer cells will be used to biosynthesise Ag2S quantum dots. The near-infrared emitting QDs will grow directly in the tumour and upon external light excitation, will be visible as a fluorescent tag for the cancer. The project will validate and bring understanding to the biosynthesis of the Ag2S QDs in breast cancer cells, developing biocompatible tools to be used in IGS.
Year 1 – Developing cell culture techniques and validating toxicological of the precursors with cancer and health cell lines. using MTS/MTT Toxicology assays, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry.
Year 2 – Preparation and understanding the biosynthesis of Ag2S in tumour cells. Using salts to biosynthesis the QDs in cancer cells. Using FACs, and western blotting to quantify/localise metal transporter proteins to understand mechanism of entrance into the cancer cell.
Year 3 – Optimisation of biosynthesis and use in biological imaging.
Fully characterised biosynthesised QDs (UV, PL, XRD, TEM). Preclinical imaging studies of the biosynthesis in murine model of breast cancer.