“I created this fabric from a lab technique that I use called the western blot. Western blot is an method that tests biological samples for the presence of specific proteins.
Breast cancer cell lines were cultured in vitro and proteins produced by the cells were tested by western blot. Using this technique, I proved the presence of proteins commonly found on exosomes, small nano-sized vesicles (bubbles) produced by all cells of the body. What this ultimately means is that breast cancer cells produce and secrete tiny particles, called exosomes.
The application of this finding is in the field of breast cancer diagnostics. My research seeks to characterize these small particles and prove that a simple screen for these particles in the blood (instead of using the common invasive and risk-ridden biopsies) have the potential to yield significant information on the state and severity of breast cancer tumors.
One day my research may help to replace biopsies with blood tests for the detection of breast cancer.“
Nefeli Georgoulia is a PhD candidate who splits her time between the Systems Biology department and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science.