Research Methods in Cancer Biology

Module code: BS4003

The development and use of appropriate anti-cancer therapy depends on the accurate diagnosis of the cancer. Therefore, it is important to be able to differentiate between normal and malignant tissue under the microscope. In one of the practicals in this module you will investigate the histopathology of tumours using H&E staining and through the use of immunohistochemistry assess alterations in protein expression in human tumour samples.

The ability of cancer cells to migrate from a primary site to other parts of the body (called metastasis) represents a major clinical problem. Metastasis involves cell migration, intravasation, transport through the lymphatic and circulatory system, extravasation and metastatic colonisation. To ensure continuous growth, the tumour must stimulate the development of new blood vessels (a process called angiogenesis) in order to obtain sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Some of the molecular components that regulate metastasis are - or have the potential to be - targets for cancer therapy. 

In the second practical in this module you will explore the migratory behaviour of normal and cancer cells using a variety of techniques such as wound healing assays, Boyden chamber assays and immunofluorescence microscopy. You will also examine how growth factors produced by tumours can influence the behaviour of endothelial cells lining blood vessels to permit tumour vascularisation using in vitro tube formation assays and in vivo chick Chorioallantoic Membrane (CAM) assays.

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