CORVALLIS, Ore. - Researchers at Oregon State University are seeking volunteers for a study to evaluate biomarkers for smoking-related cancer risk.

The research is being coordinated through the Department of Biomedical Sciences at OSU, which studies human and animal health, including cancer chemoprevention and treatment. A team of researchers from Biomedical Sciences, the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU and Samaritan Health Services in Corvallis will conduct the study.

“Cancer risk is a combination of genetics and environment.” explained John Mata, a research professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences Department and principal investigator for the project. “Our aim is to use new analytical tools to measure the damage that comes from carcinogens, including cigarette smoke found in our everyday lives.

“Once we are confident that we can make these measurements, we hope to evaluate interventions with micronutrients found in our diet and in some dietary supplements that may help to prevent cancers later in life,” Mata added.

Volunteers for the study should be between the ages of 18 and 65. Samaritan Health Services plans to enroll 20 non-smokers and 20 active smokers for the study. Volunteers who smoke will have their blood drawn on two different occasions and give a urine sample on two different occasions, and will be offered a total of $50 for volunteering. Non-smoking volunteers will give blood and urine samples once and will be offered a total of $25 for volunteering.

Free smoking cessation classes also will be offered to participants in the study, along with $20 compensation for smoking cessation supplies.

Enrollment criteria will be assessed through a questionnaire. To find out eligibility requirements for volunteers, or get more information about the study, call 541-768-6884.

Mata said the goal of this pilot study is to test new methods of assessing damage from smoking. The information generated through this work will be used to design studies to test the effectiveness of natural products found in dietary supplements and in foods that can help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

The project continues the work pioneered by George Bailey, who has the title of Distinguished Professor at OSU and is a national leader in the study of the role of chlorophylls to reduce cancer risk from exposure to carcinogens. Bailey recently retired to emeritus status after a long career, but remains active in collaborative research with his OSU colleagues.

Other researchers involved in the study include Carole Jubert, a research associate with OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute; Scott Gustafson, a veterinary surgeon at OSU; and physician Kevin Ewanchyna and pharmacist Jacqueline Joss with Samaritan Health Services.

The study is funded by the John C. Erkkila Foundation and through a donation from the estate of former Corvallis veterinarian Leland Gross.

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John Mata,