A new program at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and the School of Public Health will seek to discover subtle variations in the human genetic blueprint that predispose some individuals to develop cancer after contact with environmental pollutants.
The program will explore, for example, why some individuals exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke develop lung cancer, while others do not. Bringing together the best environmental researchers and molecular biologists at UCLA, the program seeks to shed new light on how pollutants interact with genetics to cause a variety of cancers.
The $1 million effort is being funded with a leadership gift from Pacific Palisades resident Art Alper, who made the donation in memory of his wife, Ann Fitzpatrick Alper, who died last year from complications of lung cancer. The Ann Fitzpatrick Alper Program in Environmental Genomics will be headed by Dr. Robert H. Schiestl, UCLA professor of pathology, environmental health and radiation oncology.
"We'll investigate the molecular mechanism by which environmental agents such as air pollution, pesticides and radiation cause cancer and why a certain sub-population of people are more sensitive to these environmental exposures than the general population," Schiestl said. "With knowledge about the mechanism of this interaction between environmental exposure and genetic predisposition, it's our goal to develop improved biomarkers of exposure, to identify people at increased risk and to design nutritional and chemical interventions to counteract the development of cancer, especially in those with increased sensitivity."
The environmental genomics program will focus on six research projects that seek to:
- Characterize genetically the effects of air pollution particles on the makeup of human cells.
- Understand the relationship of environmental exposures and a nonsmoker's susceptibility to lung cancer.
- Identify the specific protein that prevents a canc
Contact: Kim Irwin
University of California - Los Angeles 28-Mar-2003Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
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