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Media opportunity: Dalhousie University’s expertise in live‑cell imaging gives researchers unprecedented, colourful view of DNA damage repair and opens the door to new cancer therapies
The majority of cancer cases arise from accumulated damage to our genetic material, a phenomenon that happens more than 10,000 times a day and can cause mutations to our DNA and lead to uncontrolled cell growth.
These injuries would be catastrophic if cells were unable to repair them, but a very delicate machine that detects and repairs genetic damage kicks in to prevent DNA mutations and diseases, such as cancer. But even after four decades of intensive research, that critical process still remains only partially characterized.
In a new study, Graham Dellaire of Dalhousie’s departments of Pathology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology collaborated with Dr. Raul Mostoslavsky at the Massachusetts General Hospital and colleagues at the National Cancer Research Center in Spain to use machine learning and analyze thousands of images to visualise this DNA repair machinery with a degree of detail and precision never achieved before.
This technique -- using multi-colour fluorescence microscopy with a custom-built, state-of-the-art spinning disk microscope -- has led to the discovery of several new proteins that are involved in DNA repair.
Dr. Dellaire is available to discuss the results, published in the journal Cell Reports, and how they not only shed light on DNA repair but also provide new technologies to manipulate the process, priming the pump for novel discoveries that will affect how cancer is treated.
Senior Research Reporter
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