Amit Gupta

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Amit Gupta


Amit discovered that he wants to continue doing research in the future, as well as attend medical school. As he explored different fields, he was able to envision himself doing cancer research beyond graduation. Amit describes his favorite research experience as the time he worked with three different types of snake venom in relation to cancer cell lines, which helped him to realize "how broad the applicability of science is." Amit strongly encourages all students to participate in research and feels that research has enhanced his education: "Due to the practicality of research, I have actually relearned my past knowledge, but this time with clearer definitions and better understanding." triangle.gif (504 bytes)




The inception of host invasion by tumor cells is characterized by the adhesion, or the physical attachment of the cancer cell to the basement membrane (BM). This process is mediated by integrins, which may be up-regulated by various transmembrane receptor proteins and ligands called cytokines. This study was performed to determine whether normal epithelial mammary cells (clone 184A1) increase cancer cell adhesion. We found that the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line binding to reconstituted BM increased in the presence of 184A1 conditioned medium (CM). Furthermore, 184A1 CM increased adhesion of three breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, SK-BR-3, and BT-20) to the specific proteins of the BM (fibronectin, vitronectin, and laminin) but not to the extracellular matrix protein collagen I. The effect was partially reversed by peptides known to inhibit binding between the cell and the BM by blocking integrin-binding sites. These results suggest that normal mammary cells play a role in the progression of human breast cancer.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                
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Philip Carpenter

College of Medicine

Amit Gupta has shown that normal and cancer cells may interact in ways that promote the most dangerous behavior of cancer cells, namely their ability to spread throughout the body. Cancer spread begins when the tumor cells bind to the basement membrane, which is normally a barrier to cancer cell invasion. This research has shown that secretions of normal breast cells increase this binding process in breast cancer cells in culture. These findings raise the possibility that inhibiting this interaction may provide a way of blocking breast cancer spread. The opportunity to do biomedical research as an undergraduate not only allows the student to learn how to gain understanding of disease processes, but it also allows the student to make a direct contribution to the body of scientific knowledge.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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