Last evening (5-11) Junior Mikayla Cann presented her Youth Apprenticeship Biotechnology project at the annual event held at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute in Fitchburg. In addition to the weekly class Mikayla attends each week, she works at Bellbrook Labs and is mentored by Dr. Robert Lowery. Mikayla plans to continue her Biotechnology Youth Apprenticeship during her Senior year. Mikayla explains her work with Dr. Lowery in the following statement:
"I perform transformations into E.Coli cells in order to create the protein of interest, P-Rex1. This protein is used to carry white blood cells to the site of the infection. When a person has cancer, P-Rex1 cannot distinguish between white blood cells and cancer cells, due to the fact that cancer cells disguise themselves. P-Rex1 then carries cancer cells and spreads them around the body, which is how cancer spreads. I am working on finding the correct conditions to mass produce this protein, P-Rex1. Once I find the correct conditions, next year I will test different types of drugs on it. If I find a drug that inhibits P-Rex1 from spreading cancer cells, then tumors would not spread. Then it's possible to pair this drug that stops the spread of cancer with another drug that stops the growth of the tumor, cancer could be cured in that patient."