Hi! My name is Matthew Lowerison and I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics at Western University. I work in the imaging lab at Robarts Research Institute with Drs. James Lacefield and Ann Chambers.
My research is focused on developing new ultrasound imaging techniques to evaluate anti-cancer drugs that work by attacking a breast tumour’s blood supply, effectively starving it. As it is difficult to identify breast cancer patients who will benefit from this type of drug, an objective of our research concerns finding new tools to determine the effectiveness of this treatment.
We’ve been developing a new method of image analysis that looks at the “texture” of the tumour as seen in ultrasound images. The texture of the image provides a measure of the organization in a tumour’s blood supply, with tumours that appear disorganized being worse for the patient. An effective drug will change the tumour’s blood supply from chaotic to organized, a process that mimics wound healing.
We’ve also been working in collaboration with Dr. Hon Leong to develop ultrasound protocols for tumours growing in a chicken egg model. This potent blood vessel model allows us to screen for drug resistance in patient-derived cancer cell lines.
The development of these techniques will provide new insight into the cancer’s blood supply during therapy. We’re one step closer to personalized anti-cancer medicine with these new tools!
Thank you to BCSC for your trainee support!
– Matthew Lowerison, student researcher
Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Health Sciences Centre