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May 01, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 9)

The Carcinogenic Potency Project (CPDB)

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If you feel like you hit the jackpot when you visit the Carcinogenic Potency Project site, you’re probably interested in cancer-causing chemicals. The jackpot you’ll realize contains the results of 6,153 (at press time) chronic, long-term animal cancer tests on 1,485 chemicals. Yum! This truly is an awesome collection, and the information is nicely organized. The opening page divides content into 16 areas, ranging from a summary of chemical structures of compounds in the database to numerous tables of data. The latter includes summaries of target sites, dosing/survival, and a ranking of cancer hazards based on rodent data. I was intrigued by one entire category devoted to aristolochic acid, a component in numerous herbal products sold on the web for weight loss, but linked to urothelial carcinoma. Amazingly enough (or maybe not so), the FDA issued warnings about the compound in 2001, but by 2003, the materials were still for sale! If you go to the site, you can read the letter from Lois Gold and Thomas Slone to the FDA on this matter. After reading this, I have to wonder what good the FDA is if it cannot act on its own warnings.
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