Development of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy for Drug Response Analysis

  • Caryn Hughes

Student thesis: Phd


The feasibility of FTIR-based spectroscopy as a tool to measure cellular response to therapeutics was investigated. Fourier transform mid-infrared spectroscopy has been used in conjunction with multivariate analysis (MVA) to assess the chemistry of many clinically relevant biological materials; however, the technique has not yet found its place in a clinical setting. One issue that has held the technique back is due to the spectral distortions caused by resonant Mie scattering (RMieS), which affects the ability to confidently assign molecular assignments to the spectral signals from biomaterials. In the light of recently improved understanding of RMieS, resulting in a novel correction algorithm, the analytical robustness of corrected FTIR spectra was validated against multi-discipline methods to characterise a set of renal cell lines which were selected for their difference in morphology.After validation of the FTIR methodology by discriminating different cell lines, the second stage of analyses tested the sensitivity of FTIR technique by determining if discrete chemical differences could be highlighted within a cell population of the same origin. The renal carcinoma cell line 2245R contains a sub-population to contain a sub-population of cells displaying 'stem-cell like' properties. These stem-like cells, however, are difficult to isolate and characterise by conventional '-omic' means. Finally, cellular response to chemotherapeutics was investigated using the established renal cell lines CAKI-2 and A-498. For the model, 5-fluorouracil (5FU), an established chemotherapeutic agent with known mechanisms of action was used. Novel gold-based therapeutic compounds were also assessed in parallel to determine their efficacy against renal cell carcinoma. The novel compounds displayed initial activity, as the FTIR evidence suggested compounds were able to enter the cells in the first instance, evoking a cellular response. The long-term performance, tracked with standard proliferation assays and FTIR spectroscopy in the renal cancer cell model, however, was poor. Rather than dismissing the compounds as in-active, the compounds may simply be more effective in cancer cell types of a different nature. The FTIR-based evidence provided the means to suggest such a conclusion. Overall, the initial results suggest that the combination of FTIR and MVA, in the presence of the novel RMieS-EMSC algorithm can detect differences in cellular response to chemotherapeutics. The results were also in-line with complimentary biological-based techniques, demonstrating the powerful potential of the technique as a promising drug screening tool.
Date of Award31 Dec 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Gardner (Supervisor) & Richard Snook (Supervisor)


  • Label free proteomics
  • cytotoxicity
  • Chemometrics
  • Renal carcinoma
  • Photoacoustic Spectroscopy FTIR-PAS
  • Fourier Transform Infrared FTIR Spectroscopy
  • Principal component analysis PCA

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