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Author

Emily Clark

Date of Award

4-2004

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Valerie M. Kish

Abstract

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most aggressive form of primary brain cancer in adults. It is almost always fatal, with a five-year survival rate of less than 5% (Holland, 2000). It invades the brain tissue at an alarming rate and is almost impossible to remove by surgery. Often by the time a diagnosis has been made, the tumor has progressed so far into the brain that radiation and chemotherapy are of no use, and it becomes fatal within a short period of time. The tumor cells spread in the brain by degrading the extracellular matrix that holds brain cells together, and thus creating an open pathway through which the tumor can migrate. A family of enzymes, called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is responsible for this degradation. They are involved in both the invasion and proliferation of tumors. Gliomas express elevated levels ofMMPs (Kunapuli et al., 2004) and their role clearing a path in the extracellular matrix for the spread of cancer tumors is being investigated for their use in cancer treatment possibilities.

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