Department of Cancer Studies & Molecular Medicine
Biomarkers of carcinogen exposure in epidemiology and chemoprevention
Our research objectives are:
• The development of biomarkers of exposure, effect and susceptibility to carcinogens, and their application in molecular epidemiology studies aimed at reducing carcinogenesis in humans.
• The use of biomarkers to assess the efficacy of chemoprevention and chemotherapy procedures and to guide future clinical trials.
Environmental and life-style factors (including diet) are known to play a major role in causation of cancer and other chronic diseases. A more precise knowledge of the causative factors and mechanisms involved would enable the development of preventive measures. Essential to achieving this aim is the use of biomarkers in exposed human populations. We have developed a wide range of biomarkers, including, for example, the assessment by mass spectrometry, with high chemical specificity, of low level exogenous exposure to carcinogens, as well as of endogenous production of carcinogens, by measuring their interaction products (adducts) in damaged DNA. A current key aim is the development of a screening system to assess total human DNA damage from carcinogens and reactive oxygen species. We also investigate the efficacy of chemopreventive measures with agents that delay or prevent cancer progression using biomarkers of the early biological effects that result from DNA damage, using ‘omics methodologies.