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The UCLA-Boston University Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Steven Dubinett

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID number: 3 U01 CA152751-03S1

Award Date: 7/1/2012

Institution: University of California Los Angeles


There is an urgent need to rapidly assess the physiologic impact of new tobacco products to identify those that pose serious health risks. In the parent grant, investigators demonstrated that gene-expression profiling of intra- and extra-thoracic airway epithelium is a sensitive indicator of cellular response to cigarette smoke exposure, yielding a bronchial airway gene-expression signature that is an early lung cancer biomarker. The goals of this study are to determine whether this same approach might identify responses to other tobacco products and to establish in vitro exposure systems that can accurately model physiological exposures and rapidly assess the potential carcinogenicity of tobacco-related products. This study will also identify molecular signatures of the potential carcinogenicity of tobacco and tobacco-related products; these new signatures will then be evaluated as potential biomarkers of cancer risk in the lung cancer cohorts being studied in the parent grant. Investigators will examine gene expression differences in airway epithelial cells from 160 subjects including electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users, tobacco cigarette smokers, and former smokers, and will compare these differences to the in vitro effects of cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor. Specific aims are: (1) to identify physiologic responses to e-cigarette usage in intra-thoracic airway epithelial cells through transcriptome profiling; (2) to determine the utility of transcriptome profiling of extra-thoracic nasal epithelial cells in identifying physiologic responses to e-cigarette use; and (3) to establish in vitro exposure systems using human bronchial airway epithelial cells for assessing e-cigarette exposure effects and potential carcinogenicity. This research characterizing cellular responses to e-cigarettes will provide insight into their potential long-term health effects.


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