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Triennial DoD Breast Cancer Conference Specializes in Novel Studies
Researchers Present Innovative Studies
BCRP differs from many other research groups because the program seeks to fund innovative and risk-taking research that shows promise, Kaime explained.
“NIH does incredibly stellar research, as well, and so one would ask why two separate funding organizations have? We respond that we do things that are complementary to what the NIH and NCI funds,” said Kaime. “We tend to focus on research that is very highly innovative. We want to give those researchers who have a great idea that may be high-risk research, but potentially very high reward, a chance to develop preliminary data. In other funding agencies, you have to have usually extensive preliminary data and be doing just the next logical step to get funded. And we are saying we want to step back and take a risk and fund something that may not be a sure bet in the scientific world.”
This year, a BCRP study that generated excitement suggested that if pregnant women alter their diets to increase consumption of omega 3 fatty acids, it may reduce the risk of breast cancer to fetuses by causing epigenetic changes in utero and later through nursing. These changes may alter gene expression permanently, a change referred to as imprinting.
“The main point is that simple changes in diet can have a drastic effect on cancer incidence, in particular in breast-cancer incidence,” principal investigator Philippe T. Georgel, PhD, from Marshall University, told U.S. Medicine.
The researchers conducted the study in mice to investigate whether having a diet rich in omega 3s while pregnant would result in changes to fetal mammary gland gene expression and would result in reducing the chance that the female offspring would later develop breast cancer. They found there was a reduced incidence of mammary gland cancer observed for the offspring of mice that, while pregnant and nursing, consumed a diet containing canola oil, rich in omega 3, compared with the offspring of mice that, while pregnant and nursing, consumed a diet containing corn oil rich in omega 6 fatty acids.
Georgel said that, while corn oil is fairly representative of the typical western diet in terms of the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, canola oil has the optimal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. While further research is still needed, women should consider increasing their omega 3 fatty acid intake, he said.
“It is pretty simple when you go shopping, basically when you go to a grocery store to decide between canola oil or corn oil. The price is pretty much the same. On the one hand, if you take the corn one, you will take the one that is worse for yourself. But, if you pick the canola oil, you will get the most optimal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids,” he said.
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- Triennial DoD Breast Cancer Conference Specializes in Novel Studies