The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology

Wise Laboratory Earns Major Research Grant

The Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology has received a 5-year, $1,628,180 Research Project Grant (R01) from that National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The research will focus on how hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) causes lung cancer. Cr(VI) is a known human lung carcinogen with widespread occupational and environmental exposure. However, how Cr(VI) causes human cancer is uncertain. The Wise Laboratory study focuses on how Cr(VI) affects the ability of a cell to repair broken DNA strands. It advances our basic understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying how Cr(VI) causes lung cancer and informs us about how cells protect against Cr(VI) inducing instability throughout the genome. The project findings will help identify new potential cancer treatment targets and approaches to reduce or prevent Cr(VI)-induced lung cancer. It will also help regulatory agencies better assess the risk of exposure to this major public health concern. Further, the project will establish a mechanistic model in a human lung cell system that will allow for studies or other factors important for preventing human lung cancer both in general and, more specifically, by Cr(VI) and other agents. The R01 grant is one of the National Institutes of Health most prestigious grants and to earn one is a particularly notable accomplishment given the very low federal funding rates for these grants (currently less than 14% get funded). This grant is Dr. Wise’s third R01 award at USM, the only three ever earned at USM and one of only 3 such grants in the University of Maine system and one of only 7 at any Maine University.