Carcinogens and DNA - the missing link, found

Robert Turesky of the Wadsworth Center at the New York State Department of Public Health and colleagues have developed a mass spectrometry technique that identifies and quantifies chemical signatures of carcinogen exposure in preserved biopsy and tissue samples from cancer patients. The research could allow toxicologists to preserved samples from the last few decades to determine whether or not exposure to certain toxic chemicals might be linked to specific forms of the disease. Snippets of medical samples are usually preserved with formaldehyde and paraffin wax, which had precluded subsequent chemical analysis until now. He has now shown that a banned compound from some herbal medicines, aristolochic acid, known to react with adenosine nucleotides to form DNA adducts can be identified and quantified at the same time in a preserved tissue sample.