Based on epidemiological evidence supporting an ssociation between residential exposure to extremely
low frequency magnetic fields (ELF MF) and childhood leukaemia, ELF MF have been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. The proposed project aims to scrutinize the underlying biophysical mechanisms and
to clarify a possible causal relationship between ELF MF exposure and cancer, especially childhood leukaemia. This will be achieved by 1) developing and applying novel experimental and computational techniques to close knowledge gaps in the exposure assessment to ELF MF and 2) applying advanced biological in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models and techniques under well-defined exposure conditions to test likely interaction mechanisms. The selected experimental approach is based on epidemiological evidence and current knowledge about the molecular processes underlying acute leukaemia in children. It aims to investigate the possible impact of ELF-MF exposure: 1) on the epigenetic dynamics associated with hematopoietic cell lineage commitment and
differentiation; epigenetic signatures will be monitored genome-wide, and mechanisms underlying eventual “misprogramming” will be addressed in gene promoter models; 2) on the alteration of signalling processes in cells; 3) on the induction of possible cytotoxic effects on CD8 positive T cells; and 4) on the genesis or evolution of childhood leukaemia by generating genetically modified advanced animal models. Advanced biophysical simulations with efficient numerical solvers combined with the latest tissue and cellular models will be implemented to support the bioexperiments. A risk assessment will be performed at the end based on studies conducted within the project and correlated to recent studies conducted outside the consortium by adapting and
applying procedures as outlined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans.
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