Helping Cells Repair Their DNA
Radiation, man-made chemicals and naturally-occurring chemicals can harm us by causing physical alterations of our DNA. But exactly how do these alterations (called DNA damage) affect our bodies and cause illness? Are there ways to eliminate or combat their effects to help maintain health or cure disease?
The answers must involve understanding how cells naturally detect and repair DNA damage. Early in its evolution, all life developed mechanisms to detect, signal and repair these lesions in the DNA, in a process known as DNA damage response.
Dr. Daniel Durocher, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics of the DNA Damage Response, is aiming to improve understanding of how DNA damage is detected by the body, a process that is still poorly understood. Researchers know that failure to detect and repair DNA damage can lead to cancer. Therefore, improved understanding of how our cells detect and repair DNA damage will clearly lead to better understanding of the causes of cancer and some inherited diseases.
Durocher aims to identify and describe the novel protein activities involved in detecting and repairing DNA damage.
Durocher’s research could lead to better understanding of the DNA damage response and new treatments to battle cancer and various genetic diseases.