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Congratulations to Marc Bjurlin, DO, MSc, FACOS, along with co-investigators Drs. Rebecca Fry, and William Kim on their recent UNC Lineberger Innovation Award for “Evaluating the carcinogenic effects of electronic cigarettes on the urothelium.” This award will fund a pilot study starting this August for one full year – further extending Dr. Bjurlin’s body of work researching the dangers of e-cigarette usage.

This past fall, as part of a multidisciplinary study funded through the NC TraCS and NYU, Dr. Bjurlin has been investigating the types of bladder cancer-causing biomarkers found in the urine of e-cigarette users.

“Given the large and increasing use of e-cigarettes, especially among youth, there is a pressing need to understand the health implications of vaping. Our study will evaluate the changes that take place in the bladder among e-cigarettes users as it pertains to bladder cancer risk.”

Marc Bjurlin, DO, MSc, FACOS
Associate Professor of Urology

Marc Bjurlin, DO, MSc,


Scientific Abstract

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is a public health crisis in the United States, with an exponential rise in its use over the last three years. E-cigarettes are considered an alternative to conventional cigarettes and their appealing appearance, taste and use characteristics make them popular among many age groups. Similar to combustible tobacco smokers, e-cigarette users are exposed to a variety of toxic and carcinogenic compounds during the vaping process. Specifically, carcinogenic compounds as well as their metabolized byproducts have been observed in the urine of e-cigarette users that have a strong link to the development of bladder cancer. Cigarette smoking produces specific bladder carcinogens which get converted into reactive intermediates that interact with DNA and have potential mutagenic consequences. We hypothesize that genomic events occur in e-cigarette users which may place them at risk for the development of bladder cancer and will assess e-cigarette users for these genomic events in an attempt to assist the understanding of potential bladder cancer risk of e-cigarette use.

UNC Lineberger Developmental Funding Program

The UNC Lineberger Developmental Funding Program supports the innovation of cancer research led by faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and stimulates new applications for extramural funding.

There are two rounds of funding supported each year, falling into two tiers of awards: Tier 1: Pilot Awards and Tier 2: Stimulus Awards. Within each tier, proposals are accepted in basic, clinical/translational, and population science.