Researching with the Big Guys: Community Colleges and Cancer Research
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Researching with the Big Guys: Community Colleges and Cancer Research. Dr. Firouz Darroudi Nelson Rodrigues Dr. Michael Long April 5, 2013. Presentation Overview. The Cost of Cancer Research Community College Cancer Research Activity CNAQ Cancer Research – Origins and Development

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Researching with the Big Guys: Community Colleges and Cancer Research

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Researching with the Big Guys: Community Colleges and Cancer Research

Dr. Firouz Darroudi

Nelson Rodrigues

Dr. Michael Long

April 5, 2013

Presentation Overview

  • The Cost of Cancer Research

  • Community College Cancer Research Activity

  • CNAQ Cancer Research – Origins and Development

  • Training Students for Cancer Research

  • Future Plans

The Cost of Cancer Research

  • Cancer research is expensive

    • Personnel (scientists, oncologist, radiologists

    • Equipment (microscopy, MRIs, shipment costs!)

    • Infrastructure (research complexes, compliance)

    • Drug development and patenting

Cancer Microscopy

3D Image of Breast Cancer Cell from SEM

3D Image of Lung Cancer Cells from SEM

Cancer Research Infrastructure

German Cancer Research Centre

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Cancer Drug Development

  • Average cost of R&D to bring one cancer drug to market: $802 million

  • Risk!!!

    • Only 1 in 1000 new compounds make it to human trials testing

    • Of those, only 1 in 5 receive FDA approval

Community College Cancer Research Activity

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (Caribbean)

  • Aroka Ramsey Community College (Minnesota)

  • Capital Community College (Connecticut)

Community College Cancer Research Activity

  • Other Cancer Research Activity at CCs

    • Pain studies

    • Ethnographic studies

    • KAP studies

    • Lifestyle research

    • Nutrition studies

Community College Cancer Research Activity

  • Other Initiatives

    • CIHR Community College Innovation Program (Canada)

    • Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) (US)

    • NIH’s Community College Summer Enrichment Program (US)

    • QNRF (UREP Program) in Qatar

CNAQ Cancer Research – Origins and Development

  • Research Environment in Qatar is unique. National Priorities tied to research in order to diversify from a carbon economy.

    • well resourced financially (2.8% GDP)

    • QNRF

    • But …

      • Little data

      • Few grads, post docs

      • Lab spaces, equipment, technicians in early stages

      • Top-down research model vs lateral or bottom-up

CNAQ Resources

  • Support – Executive, Deans, Lab Managers, Facilities, Procurement

  • Faculty and Students - enthusiastic

  • Equipment

CNAQ Equipment

Zeiss Axio A1 Imager Flourescence Microscope

Centrifuge and Waterbath

CNAQ Equipment

-70 Freezer

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

CNAQ Equipment

Microscopes/Lab Bench

Sample Preparation Fume Hood

Professor Firouz Darroudi

  • Radiation Protection Training (IAEA) for MRTs

  • Research lectures

  • Recognized potential of CNAQ Resources: Faculty, Students, Equipment

  • Fertile research ground in Qatar

Professor Firouz Darroudi

  • Experience with developing international labs

  • Research Consultant

  • Workshops

    • Cytogenetic Short Term Assays in Genetic Toxicology

    • Genetic Counseling

    • Radiation Mutagenesis & Protection

    • Human Risk Assessment & Population Monitoring

Training Students for Cancer Research

  • Detecting causes of cancer

  • Detecting biomarkers for cancer of different origins

  • Improving cancer therapy regimen

Training Students for Cancer Research

Training is mainly implemented by organizing different workshops on cellular and molecular biology assays in order to explore the effect of physical and chemical agents on human DNA by analysing chromosomal alterations. WHY?

1. DNA in the nucleus is organized via chromosomes

2. Chromosomal aberrations were found to be the biomarker for cancer in unexposed cohorts

Responses of the cell upon induction of DNA damage




Cell cycle arrest


  • G1/S checkpoint(ATM, ATR, p53)

  • S-phase checkpoint(ATM, p53, Chk2)

  • G2/M checkpoint(Cdc2 / CyclinB)






DNA Repair


*Genomic instability*Mutations

*Chromosomal aberrations


Cancer and GeneticDiseases


SSB = Single Strand Breaks

DSB = Double Strand breaks

BD = Base Damage

Cell death (Apoptosis, necrosis)

Biological Cytogenetic Assays for Assessing genotoxic potential of physical and chemical agents in mammalian cells

  • Dicentrics

  • (in metaphases)

2. Micronuclei (in binucleated cells)

3. Premature Chromosome Condensation (PCC) (in interphases)

4. Translocations using Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)(in metaphases)

Darroudi et al., International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Technical Reports Series No. 405, 2001, 2011.

Darorudi et al., Medical Preparedness and Response, Educational Materials IAEA and WHO, 2002

I.A.E.A. Manuals (Darroudi and co-workers) on Cytogenetic Assays for Detecting Chromosomal Alteration immediately and retrospectively

Future Plans:



Cellulare Damages

(DNA, Protein, Membrane, Cellular organization )

Difference in


Clinical Trials

(Cell killing, Cancer)

DEPARTMENT OF Radiation Genetics and Chemical Mutagenesis at CNA-Q:

A multi–disciplinary approach


Future Plans:




Low and high dose Radiation

and Chemicals



Cell Tissue / organ

Estimated Cancer Mortality (USA)

(after Doll and Peto 1981 and Marquardt 1994, 2004)

Smoking (25-40%)

Nutrition (10-70%)

Occupation (2-8%)

Mycotoxins (4%)

Alcohol (2-4%)

Geophysical Faktors (2-4%)

Infections (2-4%)

Medicinal causes (2-4%)

Nitrosamines / stomach (3%)

Sunlight / skin (2%)

Environmental pollution (1-5%)

Elucidating the genotoxic, anti-genotoxic and anti-cancer activity of plants, spices and dietary componeents in Qatar




One -H2AX focus




Future Plans: Application of State of the art molecular biology assays

Antibody anti phosphoserine-H2AX




Redon et al., 2009;

Vrouwe…Darroudi, 2007 (HMG)

Van Lelij…Darroudi et al., 2009 (Plos One)


et al., 2004


Clinical Trials

Patients Care

Environmental studies

Basic research on DNA repair

Drug Development

Redon et al., 2010


et al., 2004

Bonner et al., 2008

Darroudi et al., 2007 (Mut. Res.); Redon et al., 2010

-H2AX : Applications

Radiation Research

Application of COBRA-MFISH for detecting structural and numerical aberrations (Biomarkers for cancer)

  • A normal metaphase (XX)X-irradiated human peripheral blood lymphocytes

Szuhai & Tanke, Nature Protoc. 1, 264-275, 2006;

Darroudi et al., Radiation Protection Dosimetry 99, 189-192, 2002;

Bezrookove ..Darroudi., Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer 38, 177-186, 2003;

Darroudi et al; Cancer Letters 287, 67-74, 2010

Darroudi et al., IJRB, 2013.

f”=fragment; RT=Reciprocal Translocation; Dic=Dicentric;

bf”=bicoloured fragment

To speed up the processes of analyses by applying, Metasystem autmatic analyser for: Automatic analysis of Micronclei in binucleated cells, Spot counting, Metaphase finder, Comet

New Prospectives For Detecting and Treating Cancer of Different Origins

  • Discovering New Biomarker(s) for Cancer

  • Improving Therapy Regimen for Cancer Patients

  • Discovering Origin of Cancer

  • Discovering New Drugs against Cancer

A search for detecting anticancer drugs against: Breast, Ovarian and Melanoma Cancer Calomeria amoranthoides

A Potent and Unique Anti-Cancer Drug

Cytogenetic assays as tools to elucidate human genome:

To detect biomarkers for cancer

To improve cancer therapy regimen (by studying local

national plant resources in Qatar)

Thank you for your attention.

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