Journal of Undergraduate Research


cellular mechanism, thymidine kinase 1 secretion, cancer, biomarkers


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. Studies have shown that the early detection of cancer leads to better patient prognosis and a greater five-year survival rate. [1] Diagnostic and prognostic markers play a key role in classifying tumors and determining the best treatment plan for a patient. Among these biomarkers, Thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) has been studied extensively, primarily as a diagnostic biomarker for a variety of cancer types. TK1 plays a role in regulating the intracellular thymidine pools throughout the cell cycle, and thus regulates cell proliferation. [2] After cell division is completed, TK1 is degraded intracellularly, so that it does not pass to body fluids after normal cell division. However, this is not the case in cancer cells. In many cancer patients, serum TK1 level is significantly up-regulated. Higher serum TK1 activity levels correlate with a more advanced cancer stage and grade. [3] The mechanism of release of TK1 into the serum is poorly understood. My project aims to understand the cellular movement of TK1 at different cell cycle stages, and identify at what cell cycle stage TK1 is being released by cancer cells.

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Microbiology Commons