BSI faculty develop a non-invasive DNA adductomic approach to detect cancer

Marcus S. Cooke, affiliate faculty member in FIU’s Biomolecular Sciences Institute and professor in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, has received a more than $1.38 million grant for an emerging area of environmental health.

The grant from the National Institutes of Health will help further Cooke’s proposed novel, non-invasive approach to assess the totality of adducts induced by environmental exposures.

“Exposure to environmental, and endogenous, agents can induce DNA damage, and the consequential genomic instability plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of many major human diseases, such as cancer, neurodegeneration, and cardiovascular disease, together with aging,” Cooke said. “The emerging technique of DNA adductomics offers the potential to comprehensively assess the totality of adducts in the genome, but the requirement for significant quantities of tissue DNA limits its application to molecular epidemiology. We are first to demonstrate the ability to perform DNA adductomics in urine.”

This approach represents an important route to simply evaluate the totality of adducts in human populations, which may be applied to assessing cancer risk or prevention.

“Young and old, every day we are all exposed to DNA damaging agents, so having a way of assessing this, non-invasively, is a major step forward, towards informing on our risk of disease. This could be a game-changer,” Cooke said.

The project involves worldwide collaboration with partners from Chung Shan Medical University, Imperial College London, University of Minnesota, Erasmus University, MIT, Kyushu University, University Gothenburg and University of Miami.

Jessica Drouet and JoAnn Adkins contributed to this article.