By Selma Kasap and Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
ANKARA (AA) - Professor Aziz Sancar, the Turkish-American academic who won 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, said his new research has developed a map to repair the entire human genome, a technique which can be used to treat cancer.
Sancar spoke to Anadolu Agency during his visit to Ankara on Wednesday, where he visited several universities, and will deliver his Nobel medal to the Museum of Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum, on Thursday, Turkey’s Ataturk, Youth, and Sports Day.
The biochemist said he is working on a new paper to lay out his research and help scientists locate and repair DNA damage caused by UV radiation and chemotherapy.
"I call this my Piri Reis map," Sancar said, referring to the 16th century groundbreaking map by an Ottoman cartographer. "This study is the most satisfying one for me over the last 10 years."
Sancar said he has been working on the research since May 2015, where he and colleagues at the University of North Carolina developed the genome map.
"We hope this study can pave the way for a new treatment in cancer," Sancar said. "This is the most detailed human genome map right now. I hope it can show us new horizons."
The study marks the first time ever that scientists have been able to map how to repair DNA damage in the entire human genome.
Sancar said explained, "We can develop the map in normal cells and in carcinogenic cells, and we can tell and show this in any spot on the genome and how it is repaired."
The Turkish-born scientist told Anadolu Agency that publication of the research is imminent, “within two weeks.”
With the study, Sancar and his team discovered how the process of purifying enzymes happens in DNA damaged by UV irradiation and by chemotherapeutic drugs such as cisplatin and oxaliplatin, which are used to treat cancer.
Sancar said he carries his "Piri Reis Map" in his wallet, next to pictures of his wife and daughter.
Originally from the southeastern Mardin province, Sancar was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in mapping cells that repaired ultraviolet damage to DNA.