2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Undeclared
Mentor: Joseph Shrager (Cardiothoracic Surgery)

“A Retrospective Study on Current Treatments and a Novel CRISPR/Cas9-Based Gene Therapy for EGFR-mutated (Exon19) Lung Cancer”

In 2021, around 130,000 Americans died from lung cancer. Current treatments for lung cancer often lead to drug resistance and cancer recurrence. Harrison will employ a new approach, utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing tool to destroy and repair mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene which drives uncontrollable cancer cell growth. Using single guide RNAs alone or in combination with single stranded DNA template to transfect a PC9/Cas9 stable cell line, the mutated EGFR gene will either be destroyed by random mutations (insertions and/or deletions) or repaired by homologous DNA replacement. Afterwards, he will examine the growth, metabolism, and the underlying mechanisms of the treated cancer cells. This experiment will allow us to describe the different outcomes in cancer treatment between destruction of mutated EGFR versus replacement with a healthy version of the gene.