Investigating the metabolomics of HAMLET/Alpha1
Supervised by: Dr. Kenneth Hun Mok, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin
HAMLET/Alpha1 (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells) is a protein-fatty acid complex made up of α-lactalbumin (a protein found in breast milk) and oleic acid (a fatty acid found in mammalian milk and vegetable oils). This chemotherapy has been proven to act very fast on the target cancer, within 30-60 minutes after administration, faster than conventional small-molecule drugs. The only explanation for this drug's rapid influence the cell is by affecting its metabolism.
The purpose of my research this summer is to investigate the metabolic effect of HAMLET/Alpha1 on the cells of human osteosarcoma, which is a type of bone cancer largely affecting young people in their teenage years. I will be investigating this by using the method of NMR metabolomics, which encompasses using NMR spectroscopy to investigate metabolomics, which is a study of profiling and quantifying metabolites in a living cell. By using NMR metabolomics, I will be able to directly observe the changes in the levels of metabolites inside the osteosarcoma cells, and hopefully this information will help give guidance into whether this chemotherapy could be a useful drug for treating human osteosarcoma.
I will begin by preparing the U2-OS cell line, which is a human osteosarcoma cell line. The cell culture will be carefully grown and monitored. Afterwards, the samples of the cell line will be treated with different concentrations of the chemotherapy. The different samples will be put into the NMR spectrophotometer and let run for 12-16 hours to record the data over a long period of time. The data will be collected and analysed, giving insights into the metabolic effect of the chemotherapy on the human osteosarcoma cells.