Philadelphia, Pa. Examining the blood "metabolomics" profile of smokers immediately after they had a cigarette revealed activation of pathways involved in cell death, inflammation, and other forms of systemic damage, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center.
They say their findings, presented at the Ninth AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Meeting, is the best analysis for chemicals unequivocally produced by smoking and indicates the potential toll that carcinogens and toxins poise to smokers years before lung cancer, heart disease, or other smokingrelated diseases appear.
"Our analysis uncovered hallmarks of liver, heart, and kidney toxicity in otherwise healthy patients," says the study's lead investigator, Ping-Ching Hsu, a doctoral student who works in the laboratory of oncology researcher Peter Shields, MD, who specializes in tobacco carcinogenesis. Shields is the senior author.
Shields says the findings could help in the development of new blood tests that will allow researchers to assess the harmfulness of one tobacco product compared to another. This could be useful to the federal Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged by Congress to begin controlling the contents of cigarettes.
The study presents a new way to evaluate the effect of cigarette smoking in humans, say the researchers. Previously, cigarette manufacturers were only required to use machines that "smoked" cigarettes to derive the chemical content of potential carcinogens. "We have come up with an actual picture of what is happening in the body of smokers and the harm that is being produced," Hsu says.
In their pilot study, they analyzed the blood of 10 smokers before and after they smoked a cigarette, and then measured the effects again after a second cigarette smoked one hour later in a smoking laboratory. Because frequent tobacco users may metabolize smo
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Georgetown University Medical Center