World Journal of Chemical Education
ISSN (Print): 2375-1665 ISSN (Online): 2375-1657 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prof. V. Jagannadham
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World Journal of Chemical Education. 2017, 5(2), 29-36
DOI: 10.12691/wjce-5-2-2
Open AccessArticle

Creating Unique Undergraduate Research Projects for Nursing Majors that Investigate the Anti-proliferative Effects of Heavy Metal Compounds on MCF-7, A375, and HFF Cells

David S. Liu1, Christine N. Stenger1, Lucielle E. Zappitelli1 and Amy J. Heston1,

1Division of Mathematics and Science, Walsh University, North Canton, OH, USA

Pub. Date: March 13, 2017

Cite this paper:
David S. Liu, Christine N. Stenger, Lucielle E. Zappitelli and Amy J. Heston. Creating Unique Undergraduate Research Projects for Nursing Majors that Investigate the Anti-proliferative Effects of Heavy Metal Compounds on MCF-7, A375, and HFF Cells. World Journal of Chemical Education. 2017; 5(2):29-36. doi: 10.12691/wjce-5-2-2


Heavy metals, such as thallium and barium, are known for their toxicity. The focus of this project was to create research techniques for undergraduate nursing majors who had only two semesters of chemistry laboratory experience. This study investigated the antiproliferative effects of thallium and barium salts on breast cancer cells (MCF-7), skin cancer cells (A375), and normal Human Foreskin Fibroblasts (HFF). The project was designed to provide a unique research opportunity for nursing majors having only two semesters of chemistry laboratory experience. Critical thinking in chemistry and its application to real life situations were key learning objectives in investigating the toxic effects of various metals compounds on biological cells. Thallium, barium, and potassium possess very similar atomic radii, resulting in the ability of Tl+ and Ba2+ to easily enter the cell via the Na+/K+ pump. Cytotoxicity was monitored utilizing a Sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay. Results indicated cell death for MCF-7 (2 µM TlCH3COO, 75 µM TlNO3), A375 (100 µM TlCH3COO, 75 µM TlNO3), and HFF (100 µM TlCH3COO, 100 µM TlNO3). Remarkably, these cells tolerated 800 µM Ba(NO3)2. The procedure and techniques were designed to limit exposure to toxins and enhance the education of Walsh University’s nursing majors.

A375 cells barium cancer chemical education HFF cells MCF-7 cells thallium undergraduate research

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