Winship Cancer Institute Researchers Study Cellular Responses to Environmental
and Winship Cancer Institute (WCI) investigators will collaborate on
a series of studies that could have direct relevance to our understanding
of how cancer develops in humans.
The project, "Cellular Responses
to Genotoxic Stress," is funded by The National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences (NIEHS), and is comprised of five separate but collaborative
research initiatives, each investigating a different aspect of DNA repair,
damage tolerance, and damage prevention in response to exposures to
radiation or chemical agents that can corrupt cellular DNA. NIEHS is
funding the collaboration for $1.2 million for 2002-2003 and will support
this project each year at a similar level for a total of five years.
"The genetic material of
all organisms is subject to a daily barrage of physical and chemical
insults coming from the environment or produced by normal cellular metabolism,"
said Paul Doetsch, Ph.D., Emory Professor of Biochemistry and Radiation
Oncology and Interim Associate Director for Laboratory Research, WCI.
"These genotoxins can change the chemical structure of DNA components
and its coding properties, which can set the stage for various biological
consequences, including cell death, cell mutation, and, in the case
of humans, the development of cancer."
The "Cellular Responses to
Genotoxic Stress" project will employ yeast and bacterial model systems
to address several important aspects of strategies used by organisms
to resist the introduction and effects of DNA damage. The DNA damage-resistance
strategies to be analyzed will include DNA repair, damage tolerance,
and direct prevention pathways. Previous work has demonstrated that
these pathways are similar in most species, including humans. Therefore,
the studies are expected to contribute to scientists' understanding
of how cancerous cells develop in humans.
"We intend to characterize
the interacting and complementary networks of systems that operate at
different levels during exposure to DNA-damaging events," said Dr. Doetsch
who is the principal investigator of the entire project.
In addition to Dr. Doetsch,
the four Emory investigators participating in this program project are:
Gerald Shadel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry; Wolfram Siede,
Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Winship Cancer
Institute; Bernard Weiss, M.D., Professor of Pathology; and Yoke Wah
Kow, Ph.D., Professor of Radiation Oncology.
The NIEHS is one of 25 institutes
and centers of the National Institutes of Health. NIEHS seeks to reduce
the burden of human illness from environmental causes by understanding
how various environmental elements interrelate. The NIEHS funds and
conducts multidisciplinary biomedical research programs, prevention
and intervention efforts, and communication strategies that encompass
training, education, technology transfer and community outreach.
As a leader in cancer patient
care and research, Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute (WCI)
offers cancer patients new therapies, including more than 200 clinical
trials for all tumor types and stages of cancer. WCI also serves as
the coordinating center for a vast array of resources in medical, surgical,
and radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, and the subspecialties of
cancer care throughout Emory University--from blood and bone marrow
stem cell transplants to internationally recognized breast reconstruction.
For more information on The
Winship Cancer Institute, log on to our website at www.winshipcancerinstitute.org
or call 888-WINSHIP (888-946-7447).