• Enhancing Radiation Sensitivity in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: Novel Therapeutic Strategies to Target a Killer

      Latremouille, Rachel; Department of Health Sciences (2016-03)
      Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is an aggressive cancer, with those diagnosed typically living only sixth months. This cancer normally effects the elderly, with an estimated 67% of patients being 70 years of age or older. One of the reasons ATC is such a deadly disease is the lack of effective treatment options. While chemotherapy and radiation are effective treatments for many cancers, they usually have little efficacy for ATC patients. However, our lab has discovered that cytokeratin-8 (CK8), a protein that plays a structural role in normal cells, has a novel and unanticipated role in promoting growth of ATC cells. Knock- down of CK8 in fast-growing ATC results in in a near-complete abrogation of cell growth, and an increase in apoptosis, in which the cell programs itself to die. Since ATC is normally resistant to radiation therapy, and one of the mechanisms of action for radiation in treating cancer is inducing DNA damage and subsequently apoptosis, we hypothesize there may be the potential for increased effectiveness between these two observations. To this end, we are investigating whether knocking down CK8 in ATC cell lines will increase radiation sensitivity, and will present the results at the conference.