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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biochemistry & Molecular Biol.

First Advisor

Julie A. Pollock


Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of brain cancer that attacks the supporting astrocytes in the brain and is marked by a severe hypoxic microtumor environment. Owing to the highly selective blood-brain barrier, glioblastoma is one of the most difficult forms of cancer to handle. Although there is a number of different available treatment options for glioblastoma, such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, they all lack specificity. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of novel cancer therapy called photoactivated chemotherapy (PACT) on glioblastoma cells using ruthenium polypyridyl complexes. Cell viability of U87MG glioblastoma cell line was assessed after treatment with each prodrug and suspected irradiation products. Based on the IC50 values and dose-response curves, cytotoxicity was observed in prodrugs and one of the irradiation products of each and every compound tested in this study. In most compounds, the irradiation products exhibit higher levels of cytotoxicity as compared to their corresponding prodrugs, suggesting a potential for the ruthenium polypyridyl complexes to serve as PACT agents in treating glioblastoma. Analysis of the different ligands with varying physical and chemical properties also revealed a possible trend where aquated Ru-complexes with ligands that are more soluble in water and less bulky exhibit higher levels of cytotoxicity. However, the evaluation of the lipophilicity of the compounds suggests that the ruthenium polypyridyl complexes used in this study are not lipophilic enough to cross the blood-brain barrier to kill glioblastoma cells.

Available for download on Friday, May 14, 2027