Researchers to Examine Link Between Battlefield Chemical Exposure and Prostate Cancer

Researchers to Examine Link Between Battlefield Chemical Exposure and Prostate Cancer
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine will study the link between exposure to battlefield chemicals and prostate cancer (PC) in U.S. veterans with a $1 million Challenge Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The goal is to better understand specific mutations or changes in expression that might have occurred as a result of exposure to toxic materials on the battlefield. Researchers will study patients at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) and Harris Health’s Ben Taub Hospital, two Houston-based healthcare facilities serving a large number of veterans with PC. Jeffrey Jones, MD, chief of urology at MEDVAMC and the study's lead investigator, will lead a team that selects patients for the project, collects blood and tissue samples from veterans with PC, and conducts translational and clinical studies. The team hopes to develop new biotechnologies for diagnosing and treating PC patients. It also will investigate the genomics, metabolomics, and epigenomics of unique tumor specimens from these patients. While genomics deals with genetic makeup, epigenomics examines which genes are turned on or off. Metabolomics analyzes how tumor cells metabolize nutrients to obtain energy. The team will evaluate splice variants in mRNA (RNA molecules that generate proteins) of the androgen receptor, which might be more frequent in certain sub-groups and lead to more aggressive forms of PC. One way to accomplish these objectives is to define metabolic and epigenetic
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