Researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the US have developed a new biomarker test, TGx-DDI, to accurately identify and predict chemical compounds that could cause DNA damage leading to cancer.
TGx-DDI biomarker panel is based on actively transcribed or expressed genes, which reflect certain pathways responding to different stress types and provide information on cell response to injury such as DNA damage.
The new test is designed to address the concerns with current expensive and time-consuming laboratory tests that are reported to yield more false-positive findings for agents that could cause DNA damage.
A consortium of academic, government and industry investigators by the Health and Environment Science Institute has tested the new biomarker panel with various chemicals and drugs.
In addition to chemicals that were known to cause DNA damage, the consortium used genotoxicity-negative, non-cancer-causing chemicals, along with those known not to cause cancer but were genotoxicity-positive.
The assay delivered positive results for all DNA-damaging agents, negative for all genotoxicity-negative chemicals and nine negatives for a total of ten genotoxicity-positive chemicals.
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre member Albert Fornace said that the lack of an accurate, rapid and high-throughput test that assesses genotoxicity has been a major bottleneck in the development of new drugs.
“Compared to older tests, our approach allows for very accurate and high-throughput screening of chemical compounds that cause DNA damage and, potentially, cancer in humans.”