Natalia Swiecki

The Effects of Vitamin A on Tumor Formation in Plants

Presented by: Natalia Swiecki
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Kimberly Burns, Instructor of Biology and Lab Coordinator

Cancer remains to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States and around the world. Research is continuously growing on the subject, and various models are being used to develop an understanding that potentially may lead to prevention and better treatments. Plant model systems are being used as they have helped advance the understanding of pathogen defense, disease resistance, as well as impacting the understanding of human biology. Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a soil bacterium, has the ability to infect plant cells and cause abnormal growth, resembling tumor growth in humans. There have been studies that have connected vitamin A in preventing tumor growth. Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble retinoids that are involved in various functions, such as immune function and vision. The research is being conducted by exposing sunflowers to Agrobacterium tumefaciens and using a vitamin A solution to determine whether vitamin A may be useful in the prevention of tumors. The hypothesis for the experiment is that when exposed to Agrobacterium tumefaciens, the plants watered with the vitamin A solution will have reduced tumor formation. The outcomes of this study include the further development of the understanding of tumors and the possible use of vitamin A as a prevention for tumor growth.