Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington join in national effort to study health impact of toxic substances

fessor of environmental health, UW.)

Project 3: This project aims to develop tests for toxic exposure and stress responses using liver cells cultured in the laboratory. Because the liver processes nearly all chemicals that enter the body, the expression of genes in liver cells could predict how a given exposure would affect one's health. To see if their cell-culture systems accurately model the toxic effects of chemical exposures, the researchers will compare the results of tests using cultured cells to those using rodents. One of their ultimate goals is to develop laboratory tests that can replace animal testing. (Project leader: Curtis Omiecinski, Ph.D., professor of environmental health, UW.)

Project 4: This project will use DNA-microarray technology to map and identify genes that influence susceptibility to environmental toxins that cause breast cancer. Relatively few women diagnosed with breast cancer - between 5 percent and 10 percent - carry BRCA1 and BRCA2, the so-called "breast-cancer genes" that have been linked to an inherited form of the disease. However, up to half of all women are believed to carry genetic mutations that may make them susceptible to various environmental exposures linked with breast-cancer growth. Researchers hope that by identifying such genes in rats - and ultimately, humans - they'll better understand how to identify sensitivity to environmental breast-cancer risk factors in the majority of women. (Project leader: Helmut Zarbl, Ph.D., member of the Hutchinson Center's Human Biology and Public Health Sciences divisions and principal investigator of the Hutchinson Center/UW Toxicogenomics Consortium.) Each research project is supported by an infrastructure of technology cores that will provide a range of materials and services. A tissue-acquisition core, directed by UW pathology professor Peter Rabinovitch, M.D., Ph.D., will provide access to genetically defined tissues and cell cultures. A DNA-expression array core, led

Contact: Kristen Woodward
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

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