Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



Chemistry & Biochemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Hang (Hubert) Yin


Malignant tumor cells overexpress and release lipid vesicles called exosomes into the body fluids to facilitate their movement and metastasis to other parts of the body. It was found that an increased secretion of exosomes in the peripheral blood is correlated with lung cancer and melanoma metastasis. The hallmarks of exosomes are their highly curved surface (d = ~30-100 nm) that is distinct from other extracellular lipid vesicles and their enrichment with the anionic lipid phosphatidylserine (PS) in the outer leaflet of the membrane bilayer. These properties provide an opportunity in selectively targeting exosomes as potential cancer biomarkers. We have developed a novel, minimally invasive, peptide-based diagnostic tool to detect synthetic liposomes that could be used to detect exosome oversecretion in cancer patients. The successful development of this diagnostic tool for cancer metastasis will help in the proper diagnosis and therapy for cancer patients.