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Mayar Allam

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt | Graduation Date: Spring 2019
Biomedical Engineering

Understanding the impact of breast cancer cells/ fibroblasts co-culture on inducing M2 macrophages in a 3D in vitro model.

Mentor: Mehdi Nikkhah
KEEN Awardee: Fall 2018

Breast cancer remains challenging to treat due to poor understanding of the complex crosstalk between the tumor microenvironment (TME) and cancer cells. As the most predominant component in TME, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a key role in tumor progression. CAFs are also known to participate in activating the tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) into M2 macrophages which has pro-tumorigenic properties. What is still missing, however, is the interaction among cancer cells, CAFs, and the macrophages activation mechanisms. Thereby, a pre-established 3D co-culture in vitro model with breast cancer cells, CAFs, and monocytes was used to investigate the phenotypic changes of the monocytes.

Other Projects

Effect of Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts on Breast Cancer Cell Migration Parameters

Mentor: Mehdi Nikkhah
FURI: Spring 2018

The research objective of this work is to study breast cancer cells’ migratory parameter, speed and persistence, in the presence of a stromal component, Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs). To achieve this, a 3D micropatterned in vitro model recapitulating the native tumor environment has been utilized. Two major cell lines are being studied: the minimally invasive MCF-7 and highly invasive MDA-MB-231. Real-time cell tracking experiments are being carried out to study speed and persistence of aforementioned tumor cell lines. Future research will be conducted toward understanding the impact of CAFs on chemotherapy resistance.