Collateral Damage: Investigating the Side Effects of Chemotherapeutics

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This image, captured by Aprotim Mazumder, shows different cell types in healthy brain tissue.

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Aprotim Mazumder, Jennifer A. Calvo, Leona D. Samson
Samson Laboratory
MIT Koch Institute, Department of Biological Engineering, Department of Biology, and Center for Environmental Health Sciences

How much is too much? When treating cancer, it is important to balance a drug’s effectiveness at killing tumor cells with its toxicity to healthy cells elsewhere in the body.

This image of brain tissue shows Cerebellar Granule Neurons (pink), which sustain significant damage when exposed to certain DNA-damaging therapeutics, and surrounding Purkinjee cells (orange), which do not. Researchers are studying these responses to determine the cell properties and repair mechanisms that make different cell types more or less vulnerable to chemotherapy.

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Aprotim Mazumder shares the story behind his award-winning image.