Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Test that Prevented Millions of Cancers

By Julianna LeMieux

In the 1970s, an assay was developed by Dr. Bruce Ames that revolutionized the ability to test if a compound causes cancer or not.  Since then, the Ames test has been used on everything from food dyes to pesticides. The power of the Ames test is not only that it is incredibly efficacious, but also that it is inexpensive and relatively easy to do.

The test is based on a brilliant observation made by Dr. Ames. He realized that there is a strong linkage between the ability to cause mutations in DNA and the ability to cause cancer. To simplify what is an incredibly complicated process, the more mutations that something creates (or, the more mutagenic it is) the more likely it is to cause cancer. Fewer mutations = less cancerous.

In order to understand whether or not something causes cancer, you have to understand how the Ames test works......To Read More....

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