Advances in the methodology to culture normal human lung cells have provided opportunities to investigate fundamental problems in biomedical research, including the mechanism(s) of carcinogenesis. Using the strategy schematically shown in Figure 1, we have initiated studies of the effects of carcinogens on the normal progenitor cells of the human cancers caused by these carcinogens. Extended lifespans and aneuploidy were found after exposure of mesothelial cells to asbestos and bronchial epithelial cells to nickel sulfate. These abnormal cells may be considered to be preneoplastic and at an intermediate position in the multistage process of carcinogenesis. Human bronchial epithelial cells can also be employed to investigate the role of specific oncogenes in carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Using the protoplast fusion method for high frequency gene transfection, vHa-ras oncogene initiates a cascade of events in the normal human bronchial cells leading to their apparent immortality, aneuploidy, and tumorigenicity in athymic nude mice. These results suggest that oncogenes may play an important role in human carcinogenesis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Carcinogenesis; a comprehensive survey|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1985|
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