Gary A. Craig

Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Engineering


Michael Mason

Second Committee Member

Peter Allen

Third Committee Member

David Neivandt


There have been many advances in cancer research in the past few years. One avenue that researchers are pursuing involves developing new methods for the early detection and treatment of cancer. Finding and diagnosing tumors before they have increased in size or spread is an extremely important aspect of cancer therapy. The goal of this project is to improve early detection and treatment capabilities by enhancing the optical contrast between cancerous and healthy tissue. In the work presented here this is accomplished using a probe system consisting of optically active metal nanospheres conjugated to cancer specific antibodies. Probe systems using gold colloids are a possible method of improving cancer detection. Gold colloids are relatively inexpensive to make and due to the nature of their optical properties they have great potential in helping both researchers and clinicians to distinguish cancerous cells from healthy cells. Presented is a probe system is presented consisting of a gold nanoparticle conjugated to cancer specific monoclonal antibody F19 (mab-F19). Mab-F19 specifically binds to fibroblast activation protein (FAP), a protein significantly over expressed in cancer stroma. In this study the probe system is developed, characterized, and used to label samples of human pancreatic carcinoma. The optical properties of the samples are examined for evidence of labeling by a variety of methods, including darkfield microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. These nanoconjugates have shown promise in advancing cancer detection methods. The improvement of detection methods will improve a surgeon's ability to diagnose and make decisions during time sensitive operations.

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