Everyone knows that smoking can kill, but until now no one really understood how cigarette smoke causes healthy lung cells to become cancerous. Smoking accounts for the vast majority of lung cancer deaths, causing 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and about 80 percent in women.
Now, after a series of experiments using human tissue, researchers from the University of California, Davis, believe that the cancer causing chemical is hydrogen peroxide. The researchers hope that the finding will help the tobacco industry develop “safer” cigarettes by eliminating such substances in the smoke.
“With the five-year survival rate for people with lung cancer at a dismally low 15.5 percent, we hope this study will provide better insight into the identification of new therapeutic targets,” said Tzipora Goldkorn, lead author of the report.
“These experiments not only pin-point new molecular targets for cancer treatment, but also identify culprits in cigarette smoke that eventually will do the smoker in,” noted Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.