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Research Projects

Knasmüller Lab

Genetic Toxicology

In the last two years, we focused our research activities on (i) The attempts to develop new in vitro models for the detection of genotoxins, (ii) investigation concerning the identifications of dietary factors that reduce DNA-damage related cancer risks, (iii) investigations concerning the reduction of DNA damage and cancer risks as a consequence of weight loss and (iv) investigations concerning potential adverse effects of mobile phones specific electromagnetic fields.

Identification of metabolically competent cell lines

The group identified a human derived liver cell line (Huh6) which contains, in contrast to other commonly cell lines in genetic toxicology, drug-metabolizing enzymes, that reflect the metabolism of chemicals in the human body. Validation studies indicated that this cell line can be used for routine testing as it has a higher sensitivity and specificity as other currently used indicator cells. Experiments with this cell line may reduce the use of laboratory rodents in genetic toxicology.

Investigations concerning the DNA-damaging properties of high and low frequency electromagnetic fields

The experiments are conducted in the frame of a new project (NIRMES) sponsored by AUVA. We investigate in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Environmental Health if exposure to chemicals at workplaces and mobile phone-specific fields lead to an increase of DNA-damage.

Impact of overweight on DNA stability

Obesity is increasing worldwide and represents the most relevant diet related cancer risk. We conducted a comprehensive study with patients that underwent different forms of bariatric surgery and investigated DNA damage, DNA repair and oxidative damage, telomere lengths and the expression of cancer related proteins as a consequence of weight loss. The results are at present evaluated and will be published in the near future.

Development of plant extracts for the production of DNA and cancer protective beverages

We identified phenolic compounds that are contained in plant extracts which prevent DNA damage of the genetic material. According to EFSA such effects lead to beneficial health consequences in humans and can be used for health claims. Another relevant effect which is studied is the reduction of the glucose and insulin levels which play a causal role in the induction of DNA damage in overweight individuals. We are currently investigating promising plant extracts in human intervention trials in an industry founded project.