Mentors: Bina Lokchander, Leila Haery, and Guo Wei
Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death that is essential for normal development of multicellular organisms. Defects in apoptosis can play a major role in tumor development. Studies of small molecules that target the apoptosis machinery and modulate the apoptosis pathway provide potential insight into how to treat many types of cancer.
Danny and his mentors sought to identify small molecules that inhibit the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein A1, a member of the BCL-2 family of regulators of apoptosis. A1 has high levels of expression in a certain subgroup of Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphomas. Danny treated lymphoma cells with many different chemical compounds, and measured expression of A1 mRNA using Luminex technology. His results indicate that molecules can be identified that decrease levels of A1 expression. In the future, these lead compounds and others can be examined for their ability to induce cell death in cancerous cells.
Danny, a Malden High School senior, examined the ability of numerous small molecules to inhibit anti-apoptotic gene expression in cancer cells.