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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Date Range
2011 2019


Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly invasive and deadly late stage tumor that develops from abnormal astrocytes in the brain. With few improvements in treatment over many decades, median patient survival is only 15 months and the 5-year survival rate hovers at 6%. Numerous challenges are encountered in the development of treatments for GBM. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) serves as a primary obstacle due to its innate ability to prevent unwanted molecules, such as most chemotherapeutics, from entering the brain tissue and reaching malignant cells. The GBM cells themselves serve as a second obstacle, having a high level of genetic and …

Contributors
Cook, Rebecca Leanne, Blattman, Joseph N, Sirianni, Rachael W, et al.
Created Date
2019

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain cancer and is classified into four different subgroups based on genetic profiling: sonic hedgehog (SHH), WNT, Group 3 and 4. Changes in gene expression often alter the progression and development of cancers. One way to control gene expression is through the acetylation and deacetylation of histones. More specifically in medulloblastoma SHH and Group 3, there is an increased deacetylation, and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) can be used to target this change. Not only can HDACi target increases in deacetylation, they are also known to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The combination …

Contributors
Dharmaraj, Shruti, Sirianni, Rachael W, Stabenfeldt, Sarah E, et al.
Created Date
2019

Biomarkers find a wide variety of applications in oncology from risk assessment to diagnosis and predicting and monitoring recurrence and response to therapy. Developing clinically useful biomarkers for cancer is faced with several challenges, including cancer heterogeneity and factors related to assay development and biomarker performance. Circulating biomarkers offer a rapid, cost-effective, and minimally-invasive window to disease and are ideal for population-based screening. Circulating immune biomarkers are stable, measurable, and can betray the underlying antigen when present below detection levels or even no longer present. This dissertation aims to investigate potential circulating immune biomarkers with applications in cancer detection and …

Contributors
Ewaisha, Radwa Mohamed Emadeldin Mahmoud, Anderson, Karen S, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2018

Hypoxia is a pathophysiological condition which results from lack of oxygen supply in tumors. The assessment of tumor hypoxia and its response to therapies can provide guidelines for optimization and personalization of therapeutic protocols for better treatment. Previous research has shown the difficulty in measuring hypoxia anatomically due to its heterogenous nature. This makes the study of hypoxia through various imaging modalities and mapping techniques crucial. The potential of hypoxia targeting T1 contrast agent GdDO3NI in generating hypoxia maps has been studied earlier. In this work, the similarities between hypoxia maps generated by MRI using GdDO3NI and pimonidazole based immunohistochemistry …

Contributors
Sahu, Sulagna, Kodibagkar, Vikram D., Sadleir, Rosalind, et al.
Created Date
2018

Achieving effective drug concentrations within the central nervous system (CNS) remains one of the greatest challenges for the treatment of brain tumors. The presence of the blood-brain barrier and blood-spinal cord barrier severely restricts the blood-to-CNS entry of nearly all systemically administered therapeutics, often leading to the development of peripheral toxicities before a treatment benefit is observed. To circumvent systemic barriers, intrathecal (IT) injection of therapeutics directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain and spinal cord has been used as an alternative administration route; however, its widespread translation to the clinic has been hindered by poor drug pharmacokinetics …

Contributors
Householder, Kyle Thomas, Sirianni, Rachael W, Stabenfeldt, Sarah, et al.
Created Date
2018

Malignant brain tumors are devastating despite aggressive treatments such as surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The average life expectancy of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma is approximately 15 months. One novel therapeutic strategy involves using a ketogenic diet (KD) which increases circulating ketones and reduces circulating glucose. While the preclinical work has shown that the KD increases survival, enhances radiation and alters several pathways in malignant gliomas, its impact on the anti-tumor immune response has yet to be examined. This dissertation demonstrates that mice fed the KD had increased tumor-reactive innate and adaptive immune responses, including increased cytokine production …

Contributors
Woolf, Eric Christopher, Compton, Carolyn C, Scheck, Adrienne C, et al.
Created Date
2018

CD8+ T-lymphocytes (CTLs) are central to the immunologic control of infections and are currently at the forefront of strategies that enhance immune based treatment of a variety of tumors. Effective T-cell based vaccines and immunotherapies fundamentally rely on the interaction of CTLs with peptide-human leukocyte antigen class I (HLA-I) complexes on the infected/malignant cell surface. However, how CTLs are able to respond to antigenic peptides with high specificity is largely unknown. Also unknown, are the different mechanisms underlying tumor immune evasion from CTL-mediated cytotoxicity. In this dissertation, I investigate the immunogenicity and dysfunction of CTLs for the development of novel …

Contributors
Krishna, Sri, Anderson, Karen S, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2017

Cancer is a major health problem in the world today and is expected to become an even larger one in the future. Although cancer therapy has improved for many cancers in the last several decades, there is much room for further improvement. Mathematical modeling has the advantage of being able to test many theoretical therapies without having to perform clinical trials and experiments. Mathematical oncology will continue to be an important tool in the future regarding cancer therapies and management. This dissertation is structured as a growing tumor. Chapters 2 and 3 consider spheroid models. These models are adept at …

Contributors
Rutter, Erica Marie, Kuang, Yang, Kostelich, Eric J, et al.
Created Date
2016

Combination therapy has shown to improve success for cancer treatment. Oncolytic virotherapy is cancer treatment that uses engineered viruses to specifically infect and kill cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. Immunotherapy boosts the body's natural defenses towards cancer. The combination of oncolytic virotherapy and immunotherapy is explored through deterministic systems of nonlinear differential equations, constructed to match experimental data for murine melanoma. Mathematical analysis was done in order to gain insight on the relationship between cancer, viruses and immune response. One extension of the model focuses on clinical needs, with the underlying goal to seek optimal treatment regimens; for both …

Contributors
Summer, Ilyssa, Castillo-Chavez, Carlos, Nagy, John, et al.
Created Date
2016

The majority of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients (70%) are diagnosed with adenocarcinoma versus other histological subtypes. These patients often present with advanced, metastatic disease and frequently relapse after treatment. The tumor suppressor, Liver Kinase B1, is frequently inactivated in adenocarcinomas and loss of function is associated with a highly aggressive, metastatic tumor (1). Identification of the mechanisms deregulated with LKB1 inactivation could yield targeted therapeutic options for adenocarcinoma patients. Re-purposing the immune system to support tumor growth and aid in metastasis has been shown to be a feature in cancer progression (2). Tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) differentiate from …

Contributors
Friel, Jacqueline Marie, Inge, Landon, Lake, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2015

The phycologist, M. R. Droop, studied vitamin B12 limitation in the flagellate Monochrysis lutheri and concluded that its specific growth rate depended on the concentration of the vitamin within the cell; i.e. the cell quota of the vitamin B12. The Droop model provides a mathematical expression to link growth rate to the intracellular concentration of a limiting nutrient. Although the Droop model has been an important modeling tool in ecology, it has only recently been applied to study cancer biology. Cancer cells live in an ecological setting, interacting and competing with normal and other cancerous cells for nutrients and space, …

Contributors
Everett, Rebecca Anne, Kuang, Yang, Nagy, John, et al.
Created Date
2015

Patients with malignant brain tumors have a median survival of approximately 15 months following diagnosis, regardless of currently available treatments which include surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Improvement in the survival of brain cancer patients requires the design of new therapeutic modalities that take advantage of common phenotypes. One such phenotype is the metabolic dysregulation that is a hallmark of cancer cells. It has therefore been postulated that one approach to treating brain tumors may be by metabolic alteration such as that which occurs through the use of the ketogenic diet (KD). The KD is high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that …

Contributors
Woolf, Eric Christopher, Scheck, Adrienne C, Lake, Douglas F, et al.
Created Date
2014

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor with an incidence of approximately 11,000 Americans. Despite decades of research, average survival for GBM patients is a modest 15 months. Increasing the extent of GBM resection increases patient survival. However, extending neurosurgical margins also threatens the removal of eloquent brain. For this reason, the infiltrative nature of GBM is an obstacle to its complete resection. We hypothesize that targeting genes and proteins that regulate GBM motility, and developing techniques that safely enhance extent of surgical resection, will improve GBM patient survival by decreasing infiltration into eloquent brain regions and enhancing …

Contributors
Georges, Joseph, Feuerstein, Burt G, Smith, Brian H, et al.
Created Date
2014

CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression. We present a study comparing methylated DNA and normal DNA wrt its persistence length and contour length. Although, previous experiments and studies show no difference between the physical properties of the two, the data collected and interpreted here gives a different picture to the methylation phenomena and its effect on gene silencing. The study was extended to the artificially reconstituted …

Contributors
Kaur, Parminder, Lindsay, Stuart, Ros, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2012

This research investigated using impedance as a minimally invasive oral cancer-screening tool by modeling healthy and diseased tissue. This research developed an ultra-structurally based tissue model for oral mucosa that is versatile enough to be easily modified to mimic the passive electrical impedance responses of multiple benign and cancerous tissue types. This new model provides answers to biologically meaningful questions related to the impedance response of healthy and diseased tissues. This model breaks away from the old empirical top down "black box" Thèvinin equivalent model. The new tissue model developed here was created from a bottom up perspective resulting in …

Contributors
Pelletier, Peter Robert, Kozicki, Michael, Towe, Bruce, et al.
Created Date
2012

The majority of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and some of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) cases are associated with possessing the BCR-Abl fusion protein from an oncogenic translocation, resulting in a constantly active form of Abl and rapid proliferation. CML and ALL cells that possess the BCR-Abl fusion protein are known as Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+). Currently, Imatinib (selective Abl inhibitor) is used as therapy against CML and ALL. However, some patients may have malignancies which show resistance to Imatinib. Previous work displays that the transformation of progenitor B cells with the v-Abl oncogene of Abelson murine leukemia virus results in …

Contributors
Arkus, Nohea Lauae Ananda, Chang, Yung, Kusumi, Kenro, et al.
Created Date
2011