HU ADVANCE-IT selects 2014 Faculty Fellow: Dr. Kim Michelle Lewis

HU ADVANCE-IT selects 2014 Faculty Fellow: Dr. Kim Michelle Lewis


Binding and Electrical Characterization of DU145 Prostate Tumor Cells on Silicon Carbide

Dr. Tina Brower-Thomas, Howard University, College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences, Washington, D.C. 20059

Dr. Paulette Furbert-Harris, Howard University, College of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Howard University Cancer Center, Washington, D.C. 20059

Currently, there is a need to track the differentiation of biological systems to identify and target cell types that would enable researchers to study cancer cells, stem cells, and other biological systems. For example, the ability to track cell differentiation could lead to early detection of pre-cancerous cells. For this project we are investigating one of the three “classical” cell lines of prostatic cancer, DU145, which was isolated from a wound in the brain of a patient with metastatic carcinoma of the prostate and a three year history of lymphocytic leukemia. The cell line is not detectably hormone sensitive and does not express prostate specific antigen (PSA). Our objective is to explore an alternative technique to identify the differentiation of biological cells on silicon carbide substrates by their electrical properties using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and a probe technique with the intention to identify a marker for early detection.

We are examining the binding of metastatic DU145 prostate cancer cells to different types of silicon carbide (SiC): 3C-SiC grown on Si, 6H- and 4H-SiC, and highly doped (HD) 4H- and 6H-SiC to determine the most effective binding substrate. Silicon Carbide (SiC) is utilized in many biomedical applications such as stents, orthopedic implants, drug delivery and tissue engineering. For applications such as tissue engineering it is important to examine the binding potential and proliferative capabilities of cells as they develop into tissue on SiC substrates. The 3C, 4H, 6H and highly doped (HD) 4H and 6H poly types of silicon carbide are considered because of their electrical conductivity between that of metals and insulating materials. Depending on their crystal structure and if the material is doped, then poly types have high thermal conductivity and high electron mobility that may be useful in a bio-electronic device.

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