Reducing the number of carcinogenic chemicals in our food and products before they come on the market may soon be a reality. A team of MIT biological engineering scientists have developed a new toxicology screening test for chemicals. Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the screening test offers specialized detection of DNA damage in cells that can quickly and accurately predict whether cancer will develop from new chemicals coming on the market (and hopefully some day, the 80 thousand-plus existing chemicals already in our food, personal care and home care products). The screening test uses human liver-like cells that metabolize chemicals similar to real human liver cells and produce a distinctive signal when DNA damage occurs (signalling that vulnerability to cancer may have been triggered). This “smart” screening test (also known as the HepaCometChip) is now being adopted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (the government research agency that identifies potentially hazardous substances) to evaluate new chemical compounds.
For a detailed explanation of the new toxic chemical screening test go here.
Journal Reference: Ngo, L.P., et al. (Dec 11, 2019). Sensitive CometChip assay for screening potentially carcinogenic DNA adducts by trapping DNA repair intermediates, Journal of Nucleic Acids Research, gkz1077, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz1077