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Development of Biomarkers of Exposure and Effects for Electronic Cigarette vs. Combustible Cigarette Use

Principal Investigator: Ahmad Besaratinia
Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant
ID Number: 1R21CA268197-01
Award Date: 9/23/2021
Institution: University of Southern California


E-cigarette use has been associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer. The goal of this study is to detect genetic and epigenetic (i.e., behavioral, environmental) alterations in key genes in the oral and blood cells of 45 healthy adult vapers and 45 healthy adult smokers in comparison to a control group (45 nonsmokers/non-vapers) matched for age, sex, and race. Study aims are: (1) to screen for the deregulation (i.e., functional impairment) of disease-related genes in oral and blood cells of vapers and smokers as compared to controls; (2) after identifying the deregulated genes, to employ targeted next-generation sequencing (a method of analyzing DNA) to detect genetic changes in the deregulated genes; and (3) to employ targeted next-generation sequencing to detect epigenetic modifications to the deregulated genes. As a secondary goal, researchers will identify correlations between the identified genetic changes and subjects’ tobacco product use patterns and product characteristics (e.g., e-cigarette device features; e-liquid content; cigarette brand, type, and chemical constituents); this will clarify the impact of vaping/smoking dose and product characteristics on the biological effects of e-cigarette use vs. cigarette smoking. Study findings will identify gene changes that can serve as biomarkers to differentiate among vapers, smokers, and nonsmokers/non-vapers, thereby indicating the health risks and/or potential benefits of e-cigarette use relative to smoking. 

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