3 Minute Thesis Competition – Anna Musket (AP 1:39)

Published by Jan Heaney on

3 Minute Thesis Competition – Anna Musket (AP 1:39)


Good evening everyone. I’m gonna give you a little bit of a dis…sorry…a little bit of an overview of what I’m doing my
dissertation on, and a title for my dissertation, right now anyway, is
glioblastoma, misregulation, and therapeutic options. Now we’ve all been
to the grocery store, and we’ve all seen those ads or signs or whatever that say
if you buy this will donate 50 or 75 or 100 percent of the proceeds to cancer
research. Now what my lab does is we take a very tiny fraction of that donated
money and we use it to study cancer. But not just any cancer I am focusing on a
particularly rare type of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Now again
glioblastoma is a rare brain cancer. Worldwide it only affects a few thousand
people per year, but for those few thousand people it’s a terminal
diagnosis. Most of them will die within two years of this diagnosis, and fewer
than 5% will live to even five years after diagnosis. To put that in
perspective breast cancer which is the most common cancer has a 90% survival
rate at five years after the initial diagnosis. So that’s why I’m studying it,
but what I’m looking into is two things, the misregulation which is basically
the causes, and therapeutic options. Different treatment options that we can
help these thousand people live longer than five years. For the misregulation
I am looking into some of the causes of cancer. As we heard earlier we know what
some of the causes of some cancers are, we know that Sun causes skin cancer, we
know that asbestos and smoking causes lung cancer, but we don’t know what
causes glioblastoma, and if we can find out what does cause glioblastoma we can help slow that or maybe even stop that process from happening. What’s
interesting with this part of my dissertation is that glioblastoma, these
patients have shown have sown shine so shown signs sorry of having stem cells
in their tumors now for all the non biologists the stem cells are like the
basic building blocks of life there would allow a tiny egg and an even
tinier sperm to meet and create an entire human being now humans adult
humans anyway don’t normally have a lot of stem cells because we don’t need them
we’re fully developed but these glioblastoma patients are having some
stem cells anyway now these stem cells are obviously a bad thing they’re
designed to grow into entire organs let alone a relatively small tumor so if we
can figure out what’s turning normal brain tumor normal brain tissue into
these tumors and these cancerous stem cells we can help slow that process down
for the therapeutic options when you are first diagnosed with glioblastoma they
have a surgeon go in and remove that tumor as much of it as they can now what
they do then is they sort of immortalize that and they basically just make it so
he can live outside of the human body now I take those cells and I test them
with these different treatments that I have developed or have been developed
and worked on other cancers and I see what works on these and what doesn’t
work on those that way we can see hopefully what causes the glioblastoma
tumor to shrink and maybe even disappear so while we might not know a lot about
glioblastoma yet I’m helping to work towards knowing at least some of it
thank you


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