Dr. Talbot's Lab Publishes New Study on Harm Reduction Cigarette Smoke

Sabrina Lin, Shawn Fonteno, and Nikki Weng, members of Dr. Prue Talbot's lab, have published a new study in Toxicological Sciences using human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to compare the toxicity of smoke from conventional and harm reduction cigarettes. They used embryonic stem cells because they provide the best model currently available for evaluating the effects of environmental toxicants on prenatal stages of development, which are usually the most sensitive to chemical stress. Their study also compared the relative toxicity of mainstream smoke, which is inhaled by active smokers, and sidestream smoke, which burns off the end of cigarettes and is inhaled by both active and passive smokers.

The results of their work clearly show that sidestream smoke is more harmful than mainstream smoke in hESC assays and that sidestream smoke from harm reduction cigarettes impairs growth of human embryonic stem cells more than smoke from a conventional brand. These results are important in demonstrating significant toxicity in harm reduction products that are often promoted as being safer than conventional tobacco products.

Their work was done in part in the new UCR Stem Cell Core Facility supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Sabrina Lin performed this work as part of her PhD dissertation and was supported last year by a UCR Dissertation Fellowship. Shawn Fonteno is supported by an NIH MARC Fellowship. The research was funded by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program of California.

Posted 10-15-2010

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