Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Hilary Gerstein

Reader 2

Thomas Borowski

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Rights Information

© 2013 Sumaiya F. Hashmi


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a debilitating malignant brain tumor with expected patient survival of less than a year and limited responsiveness to most treatments, often requiring biopsy for diagnosis and invasive surgery for treatment. We propose a DNA computer system, consisting of input, computation, and output components, for diagnosis and treatment. The input component will detect the presence of three GBM biomarkers: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), caveolin-1α (CAV), and B2 receptors. The computation component will include indicator segments for each of these genes, and ensure that output is only released if all the biomarkers are present. The output component will consist of the therapeutic agent interleukin-12 (IL-12).

This study will designate four groups of animals: untreated tumor-free (control), tumor-inoculated (RG2), treated and tumor-free (DNA), and treated and tumor-inoculated (RG2/DNA). In the RG2 and RG2/DNA groups, we will inoculate adult male Fischer rats with RG2 cells into the striatum to induce tumor growth. Rats in the DNA and RG2/DNA groups will be implanted with the DNA system at the same location via recombinant adeno- associated viral vectors. The effectiveness of the DNA system will be evaluated through tumor size measurements, collected from brain slices stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and survival curve. Additionally, IL-12 localization will confirm the release of the output component.

We anticipate that the DNA treatment will result in a decrease in tumor size, leading to smaller tumor size in the RG2/DNA group versus the RG2 group. The control group is expected to survive the longest, followed by the DNA group, then the RG2/DNA group, and finally the RG2 group. In the DNA group, IL-12 is expected to stay localized to the implantation site, remaining in its unreleased stem-loop form. On the other hand, it is expected to be released and active in the RG2/DNA group.

This study provides a proof of concept to demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of a DNA system using VEGF, CAV, and B2 receptors as biomarkers and IL-12 as a therapeutic output component in the RG2 model. Further research may include varying several of the parameters used in this study, including amount of RG2 administered, choice of biomarkers, quantity and choice of output component, and choice of animal model. This system provides a promising and innovative new approach that is less invasive than surgery yet is still effective in diagnosing, targeting, and treating GBM.


  • Best Senior Thesis in Neuroscience