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Polygence Scholar2022
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Claire Loftus

Mayo High SchoolClass of 2025Rochester, Minnesota


Hello! My name is Claire and my Polygence project is on applying immunotherapies to treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I chose to work on this project because I am interested in pediatric oncology and I wanted to learn more about upcoming treatments for ALL. After my project is complete, I would like to publish my article and potentially create my own website.


Project Portfolio

Exploring relationships among genes and other clinical variables using the cBioPortal database

Started Feb. 8, 2023

Abstract or project description

Cancer is a complex disease, in which abnormal cells proliferate uncontrollably and potentially metastasize. Among the most common types of cancer are breast cancer and sarcoma. Breast cancer forms in the breast cells, whereas sarcoma arises in the bones and soft tissue. Both cancers exhibit distinct characteristics and behaviors that are influenced by cancer hallmark genes, which play a critical role in the development and progression of cancer. Using this set of established genes, I aim to create and test hypotheses that investigate relationships between genes (mutations, copy number variation, expression) and other clinical variables (survival, age, biopsy results, etc). Leveraging the cBioPortal database, a publicly available resource for exploring cancer genomics and patient data, I intend to analyze data by running correlations and t-tests, and creating Kaplan-Meier curves. Discovering such correlations is crucial, as it can provide insights into the diseases as well as ways to improve prevention, diagnostic, and treatment strategies. After performing these analyses, I will identify interesting results and significant correlations, then write a manuscript describing the methodology used and the importance of the findings.

Project Portfolio

Immunotherapies for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Started Mar. 9, 2022

Portfolio item's cover image

Abstract or project description

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a rapidly progressing cancer in which the stem cells within the bone marrow differentiate into immature lymphocytes and proliferate from there. More specifically there is an overproduction of immature lymphocytes that in turn causes a deficiency in the other blood cell types leading patients to become immunocompromised, anemic, or thrombocytopenic. Traditionally this type of cancer has been treated with chemotherapy or radiation. Although these traditional methods may be successful most of the time, they can also come with harmful side effects, but new advanced treatments have been developed in the form of immunotherapies. Some of these latest immunotherapies include CAR-T therapy, monoclonal antibodies, allogeneic transplantation, and checkpoint inhibitor drugs which are an improvement from previous methods because they target specific regions of the body and utilize the body's immune system. Through this project I aim to provide insights into how these immunotherapies function and why they are useful for treating ALL.