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Carcinogens and DNA Damage from Cigarette Smoking and Vaping

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Monday, April 15, 2024, 3 pm

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Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Dr. Stephen Hecht, Wallin Professor of Cancer Prevention, American Cancer Society Research Professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Cigarette smoking is addictive and causes 16 different types of cancer while use of e-cigarettes (vaping) is safer but its health hazards other than potential nicotine addiction are still unclear.  This presentation will focus on metabolism and DNA adduct formation by selected toxicants and carcinogens in cigarette smoke including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, acrolein, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Urinary metabolites of carcinogens in smoke and e-cigarette vapor are important biomarkers of exposure which can be related to cancer risk.  DNA adducts are central in the carcinogenic process because they can cause miscoding in critical growth control genes.  Oral cell DNA adduct formation in cigarette smokers and vapers can be quantified by high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry.  The results of analyses of selected urinary metabolites and oral cell DNA adducts will be discussed.  Insights provided by these analyses can lead to an understanding of mechanisms of carcinogenesis in people who use these products and provide new insights for cancer prevention.

Speaker Bio:
Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D. is Wallin Professor of Cancer Prevention at the University of Minnesota and an American Cancer Society Research Professor.  He is an internationally recognized expert on carcinogens in tobacco products and their mechanisms.  He is the co-discoverer of tobacco-specific nitrosamines, causative agents for tobacco-induced cancer.  His current research focuses on the relationship of human carcinogen and toxicant metabolites and DNA adducts to cancer risk.
He has a chemistry (Duke University) and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry (MIT).  Prior to moving to the University of Minnesota in 1996, he conducted research at the American Health Foundation cancer prevention research institute in Valhalla, NY, where he was Director of Research from 1987-1996.  
He received the AACR Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research in 2006, and the Founders Award from the Division of Chemical Toxicology, American Chemical Society in 2009.  He was elected an American Chemical Society Fellow in 2009, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014, and was Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Research in Toxicology 2013-17.  He has received a Merit Award and an Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute.
He has published over 900 papers in the scientific literature.

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