Friday, November 19, 2010

Glowing Cancerous Cells

Plate of pGLO
Aequorea victoria

Scientists have engineered a plasmid called pGLO. A plasmid is a DNA molecule that is separate from the chromosomal DNA, and is found in bacteria. Scientist extracted the Green Florescent Protein (GFP) from Aequorea victoria, which is a jellyfish. They then used the GFP to develop pGLO. How did they do that? Scientists use bacteria to develop the pGLO. GFP is added on a plate with the bacteria and it is then that the bacteria will start growing the pGLO. After there are enough bacteria grown the plasmid is extracted from the bacteria cells

How can that be used that is beneficial to people? Well, why not find mutated cells in the human body faster.

On cells of the human body are receptors. There are 20 different classes of receptors in the body. There is one class that is affiliated with the growth of cancer cells it is called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family. There are four receptors in that class: ErbB-1, ErbB-2, ErbB-3, ErbB-4. Excessive signaling could cause mutated growth in cells, which can cause tumors and potentially lead to cancer.

Now, how can we use pGLO to find cancer?

In the process of growing pGLO, we could add in the information from the receptors. From there we could make it so it can only attach to mutated or receptors that are a potential threat. Then, the altered pGLO will be then developed into an antibody that can make its way to those receptors. The cancerous cells will then be easier to detect in an earlier time.

It's amazing how the Aequorea victoria could change lives!

In the picture above is rats with glowing tumors


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