Madilena Mendiola

October 17, 2014

The Ultrasonic Revolution: Freedom from Cancer [Colon]ization

Ninety percent of early diagnosis cases of colon cancer live more than five years post-detection.  However, the standard invasive diagnosis procedures, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy, are large deterrents from detecting colon cancer early enough for effective treatment.  Colon cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer related deaths per year in the United States. Consequently, this summer, under the guidance of Dr. Maria-Teresa Herd, I worked on an alternative colon cancer diagnostic tool- ultrasound.  I quantified benign colon cells using the speed of sound, attenuation, and backscatter of an ultrasound signal transmitted through a small pellet of colon cell culture. These ultrasonic properties can be used to distinguish between benign colon cells and colon cancer cells, thereby indicating that ultrasound is a viable diagnostic tool for colon cancer.  In my talk, I will discuss my project and the skills and techniques necessary for successful independent research.