Re-searching in Research: Cancer Biomarkers By Dr. S. Mohan

I had the privilege of engaging at least 2-3 Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D) students in my lab each year for the past 10+ years at UNE. It is always a fulfilling moment in seeing students’ excitement while finding something new beyond what was expected from an experiment or assay. These are instances of finding oneself “Re-searching” within their project. One such event happened while exploring molecular pattern in breast tumor cells with Marlee Smith (Class of 2022). We found our novel breast cancer biomarker, patented at UNE in 2018, to be strictly associated with only tumor growth signals, but not to any general inflammation inducing signals that could be caused by cold or flu like symptoms. We repeated the experiment two more times to make sure there were no artifacts to our original findings. To our excitement, the results remained consistent every time we tested. This made it a true “Aha moment!”, for both Marlee and me. From this finding, my lab has been exploring multiple metabolic pathways with UNE Pharm D students to know more about this biomarker, and its true potential with breast tumor predictive power.