The interaction between the Growth Factor VEGF and the Signal Transduction Molecule Akt in Oral Cancer

Project Background: The growth factor VEGF and a signal transduction pathway protein, Akt, may have an important role in oral tumours. Oral cancer patients from Dundee have been shown to have an increased expression of VEGF both in their tissue and in their serum. It has also been reported that Akt is activated in response to growth factors and this activation may be blocked by inhibitors.

Specific aims: To investigate whether there is a link between increased VEGF expression and increased phospho-Akt expression and if this is susceptible to inhibition with known inhibitors. The initial protocol will involve immunohistochemistry of cancer biopsies for activated (phosphorylated) and total Akt. In vitro studies will take a number of epithelial cell lines and investigate p-Akt expression especially in response to VEGF addition and investigate whether the cells can be down-regulated with Akt1/2 inhibitor.

Methodology: Tissue culture, immunocytochemistry, SDS-PAGE and Western blotting

Supervisor: 
Dr Ian Ellis
Subject Area: 
School: