Environmental Carcinogenesis (EC)

Co-led by Drs. Prins (UIC) and He (UChicago)

The Environmental Carcinogenesis (EC) research focus group employs mechanistic investigations combined with molecular epidemiologic approaches to establish causative linkages between environmental exposures and increased cancer risks to ultimately mitigate health disparities. Nationally and in Chicago in particular, African Americans have the highest overall rate of cancer and lowest 5-year cancer survival rate. Furthermore, racial and ethnic minorities in Chicago disproportionately live in areas with higher exposure to potentially carcinogenic chemicals.

The EC focus group brings together basic, clinical, and population scientists that have ongoing research which examines the roles of environmental factors in carcinogenesis and cancer progression at the mechanistic and population levels. Ongoing work by the EC focus group encompasses three research categories. Mechanisms of metal carcinogenesis: Metals under investigation include arsenic, cadmium, manganese and zinc. Endocrine disrupting chemical (EDCs), metabolism and carcinogenesis: EDCs (e.g BPA, PCBs) mimic and disrupt hormone actions and can increase cancer in hormone-dependent organs. Molecular control of genomic instability: radiation and toxicant exposures alter DNA repair cell fate regulation and promote microenvironment remodeling in carcinogenesis.