*Zoom*[PhD Thesis Presentation] - Mr. Hong Huat Hoh "Study on Alteration of Cellular Phenotypes and Processes in Cancer Using Exogenous Biological Agents"
Presenter: Mr. Hong Huat Hoh
Supervisor: Professor Tadashi Yamamoto
Co-supervisor: Professor Ye Zhang
Audience: OIST researchers and students
Unit: Cell Signal Unit
Zoom Code: zoom code will be available 48 hours before the examination
Title: Study on Alteration of Cellular Phenotypes and Processes in Cancer Using Exogenous Biological Agents
Cellular and genetic heterogeneity contributes to the complexity of cancer which poses challenges for cancer therapy. For instance, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a physiological phenomenon that was adopted to neoplasm to describe the possibility of carcinoma cells in acquiring mesenchymal traits, leading to invasion and metastatic dissemination. These EMT-induced tumor cells acquire cancer stem cells (CSCs) properties and contribute to heterogeneity within a tumor microenvironment. My thesis is set out to tackle the abovementioned phenomenon, with a common goal of investigating the potential of using exogenous biological agents in modifying the cellular phenotypes and processes of cancer. Firstly, I demonstrated the molecular mechanism and the ability of altering the stem cell property of breast cancer cells by downregulating CD44 molecules using exogenous miRNAs. Secondly, I investigated the potential of bioinspired integrin-targeted peptides to alter the microenvironment and subsequently cellular processes including metabolism of cancer cells for metastasis treatment in pancreatic cancer. Both studies utilized comprehensive molecular biology approaches in elucidating the functional changes and mechanisms behind the therapeutic effects of the biological agents using relevant cancer cell lines and animal xenotransplantation models. This thesis provides insights into cancer cell plasticity which can be harnessed for cancer therapy.