The broad goal of this proposal is to develop a new sensor for carcinogenic compounds, using a commercially available, non-toxic macrocycle, gamma-cyclodextrin. The cyclodextrin will bind carcinogens in its interior cavity, together with a brightly fluorescent small-molecule dye. Once the two molecules are bound in the cavity, they will be close enough so that exciting the carcinogen will result in energy transfer to and bright fluorescent emission from the dye. The sensor proposed herein has a number of advantages compared to previously- developed sensors, including: (a) high selectivity for carcinogens in the presence of other compounds;(b) high sensitivity that will enable the detection of carcinogens at low concentrations;(c) ease of tunability that will enable the tuning of the fluorescent emission signal by adding different dyes;and (d) high generality for different classes of carcinogens under a range of complex environmental conditions. The biomedical relevance of this proposal is clear: accurately assessing individuals'exposure levels to small-molecule carcinogens will aid scientists in determining patient's risk of developing cancer.
There are a number of factors that dictate whether an individual will develop cancer in his/her lifetime, including exposure to environmental carcinogens, or cancer-causing compounds. This proposal seeks a fundamentally new way to detect these compounds. This new system will detect carcinogens sensitively, selectively, and rapidly in a variety of environments and under a variety of conditions.