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Research Projects

Nociceptive response in rats with metastatic spine disease derived from human mammary adenocarcinoma

The aim of this project is to use kinase inhibitors as a treatment to prevent spine degeneration and pain. SRC is a non-receptor tyriosine kinase associated with cancer cell growth and bone pathology. We hypothesize that inhibiting SRC will decrease bone degeneration and pain sensibility in an animal model of human metastatic breast cancer to the spine.

Bisphosphonate-releasing porous polymethylmethacrylate/gelatin constructs for reducing metastatic bone pain

Our scopus with this project is to generate a drug-releasing porous polymethylmethacrylate/gelatin/bisphosphonate constructs (PGBCs); assess toxicity and distribution of zoledronic acid as PGBC when implanted into the vertebral body and assess the impact of PGBCs on functional assessment of pain in a rat model of metastatic adenocarcinoma.

Initial development of a large animal model of acute traumatic ventral spinal cord injury: Initial exploration of a large animal model of ventral spinal cord injury

The goals of this project are to determine and refine the appropriate surgical technique to create a vertebral body defect and expose the ventral spinal cord in a Yucatan miniature swine. Additionally we will test an initial design of a custom retractor system and cord impactor to determine the amount of force necessary to generate mild, moderate, and severe spinal cord injury.

Optimizing magnetic nanoparticle mediated thermoablative therapy on a human adenocarcinoma metastatic spine rat tumor model

The major goals of this project are to investigate the role of targeted nanoparticle thermoablation in the treatment of metastatic spine cancer in a rat model of human breast and prostate adenocarcinoma spine metastasis. Human derived adenocarcinoma tumors are implanted into the lumbar spine of rats. Ferromagnetic nanoparticles are then injected into the tumor bed and the rats are placed in a magnetic chamber. Treatment effects are assessed by rat neurological motor score, histological analysis and tumor fluorescence.

Effects of BMP-2 and BMP-7 on human breast cancer in a rat spine tumor model

The major goals of this project are to investigate the effect of local and systemic administration of rhBMP-2 and -7 in a rat model of human breast cancer. Human breast cancer tumors are implanted into the lumbar spines of six-week old rats. rhBMPs are then administered at varying time intervals and tumor growth is assessed by rat neurological motor score, histological analysis and tumor fluorescence.

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