Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Biology



Committee Chair

Dr. Lori Hensley


Ewing’s sarcoma (ES) is a highly aggressive pediatric cancer found within bone that carries a low five-year survival rate within its patients. This is due, in part, to the cancer’s high malignancy properties as well as the development of resistance to the chemotherapies used to combat this cancer. This project aims to determine if cannabidiol (CBD) has an effect on either exosome release or the protein, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) within ES cells. Exosomes are vesicles that can carry proteins and other signaling molecules which are released by the cell and allow for cell-to-cell communication. Within cancer cells, these exosomes are hijacked and begin to communicate cancer proteins to other cancer cells or even healthy cells. Because of this, exosomes can allow for cancer migration, invasion, and immune escape which leads to making the cancer harder to treat. STAT3 is a protein that normally acts as a transcription activator but has abnormal functionality in 70% of all cancers, assisting in tumor-induced immunosuppression. This protein is associated with exosome release as it has an impact on exosome production as well as being able to be packaged into exosomes to be sent to other cells, causing more mutations and more cancer cells to be created. The effects of CBD on both mechanisms have been observed within other cancer types such as prostate cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma, showing that an increase in CBD concentration leads to a decrease in both cellular exosome release as well as STAT3 expression. CBD was found to have no statistical impact on ES cell viability allowing for exosome quantification. This data encourages further investigation of CBD as a therapeutic for both mechanisms of tumor progression.



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