In the Science and Mathematics Complex on the Buffalo State campus, scientists at the Environmental Toxicology Laboratory study the mechanism by which various environmental pollutants present in the Great Lakes induce adverse effects on human health and the health of other species to assess the risk associated with these chemicals. They also explore preventive measures for minimizing or eradicating various adverse health effects associated with human exposure to these contaminants.
Alcohol abuse is often associated with heavy smoking, and implicated in potentiation of tobacco induced carcinogenesis. However, it is not clear how alcohol consumption potentiates tobacco-induced carcinogenesis. It is now well demonstrated that tobacco and tobacco smoke constituents such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are well known carcinogens, and induce lung cancer in animal models. The objective of this NIH-funded project was to understand the underlying mechanism of potentiation of PAH-induced carcinogenicity by alcohol. In collaboration with the scientists from Penn State College of Medicine, our studies just wrapped up and showed that drinking alcohol along with smoking leads the proliferation of cells by activation of MAPK, and the ability of alcohol to potentiate MAPK activation may be responsible for potentiating the carcinogenesis induced by tobacco carcinogens. Further studies are required to augment these observations. The results of these study has been reported in the 2015 annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research held at Philadelphia, PA, and 16th Annual Faculty/Staff Research & Creativity Fall Forum.
We conducted research under NIH funded grant for understanding the tumor promoting mechanism of alcohol in PAH-induced carcinogenesis. Interference with PAH-induced cellular protective response of cell cycle arrest/apoptosis and the role of the transcription factor p53 has been implicated in this regard.
We continued our effort in developing a new area of research in the field of microbiome. It has recently been recognized that human organs harbor commensal bacteria (microbiomes) which outnumber human cells. There is emerging evidence that these commensal bacteria may be playing an important role in maintaining healthy organs free of diseases including cancer, such as skin cancer and breast cancer. The present aim is to identify these probiotic microorganisms and the underlying mechanism by which these microorganisms protect human skin and breast from developing cancer. A proposal was developed to determine the role of microbiome in protecting breast cancer. This proposal was submitted to Department of Army as a potential source for funding.
We continued our effort in developing another proposal in the area of chemoprevention, and cancer treatment. The goal of this proposal was to investigate organoselenium compounds containing chalcone scaffold for developing a potential lead to a new generation of anticancer drugs with improved therapeutic index and offer potential to be unaffected by drug resistance often developed during cancer treatment. A proposal was developed and submitted to National Institutes of Health as a potential source for funding.