Kairo Baylor

Date of Award


First Advisor

Jessica Robbins

Second Advisor

Erin McMullin


Cancer continues to be a major health threat throughout the world, and although advances in medicine have led to a decrease in the overall cancer death rate, those who survive are faced with new health complications that arise from cancer treatment and anti-cancer-drug side effects. These side effects are mainly caused by the unintended effects of anti-cancer drugs on healthy cells. Not only do healthy cells express many of the membranous proteins that are targeted for cell entry during anti-cancer drug delivery, they also depend on many of the same biological pathways that anti-cancer drugs disrupt and disable in cancerous cells. I will explore ways to minimize cancer treatment side-effects and ameliorate anti-cancer drug delivery by using nanoparticles that can discriminate between the two cell types based on internal differences. Cancer cells get nearly all of their energy from two cellular pathways, called glycolysis and lactic acid fermentation. These cellular pathways are used much more frequently in cancer cells, which causes a buildup of lactic acid in their cytoplasm, and consequently a lower cytosol pH than in healthy cells. This difference in pH can be exploited to target cancer cells and limit damage to healthy cells. I hope to test a pH-sensitive nanoparticle that will encapsulate the anti-cancer drug, but will only expand and dissassimilate in the acidic conditions of cancerous cytoplasm to reveal the drug. More specifically, nanocapsules made of biodegradable material will encapsulate an anti-cancer-drug equivalent such as a dye, and the release behavior of the nanocapsules will be compared between solutions that mimic cancerous conditions and solutions that mimic healthy cell conditions.

Simon's Rock Off-campus Download

Simon's Rock students and employees can log in from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Simon's Rock username and password.