Tn antigen is a carbohydrate bound to serine or threonine of a membrane protein, and is found displayed exclusively on the surface of tumor cells. While the immune system recognizes this feature as unique, it generally does not mount a significant defensive attack with respect to Tn antigen. To aid in the development of cancer vaccines, we have designed and are attempting to construct a conformational mimic of Tn antigen that has an extended half-life, and therefore expected to produce a more robust immune response. The actual lab work involves organic molecule synthesis and purification of these new materials, as well as characterization of these structures by NMR and mass spectrometry.
Completion of CHEM 263 and 264 is strongly preferred.