Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Porter, Lisa


Breast Cancer, Cell Cycle, Stem Cells



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Breast tumours are heterogeneous and contain populations of cells with stem-like qualities that are characterized by long term self-renewal capability and the ability to generate more differentiated progeny. This model for carcinogenesis carries significant clinical implications as cancer stem-like cells have enhanced protective mechanisms that make them resistant to conventional therapies. Designing treatment options to target this aggressive population requires an understanding of the mechanisms regulating their growth and fate decisions, including cell cycle regulation. The protein Spy1 is an atypical cyclin that enhances cell proliferation and overrides senescent barriers. Spy1 has demonstrated roles in maintaining stemness in the brain and is elevated in human breast carcinoma. This study demonstrated that Spy1 is a driver in the population of stem-like cells across a number of different breast cancer cell lines. The findings in this study may have clinical implications toward targeted approaches in the treatment of breast cancer.