Cancer Pioneer Discusses Nutrition
Speaking last week on the NIH campus, Dr. Paul Talalay, from the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, detailed some of the latest data and support for the role of diet in cancer prevention. The speech was part of the Stars in Nutrition & Cancer seminar series sponsored by the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention.
Carcinogenesis, Dr. Talalay argued, is a normal, multistage process - but a silent one. Until a clinical diagnosis is made, we don't know which of our thousands of normal cells have begun to undergo genetic and epigenetic changes, on the road to neoplasm and eventually malignant tumor. But, he explained, we now know that compounds found in everyday foods have been shown to alter carcinogenesis. Researchers in Dr. Talalay's laboratory, for example, have demonstrated that the compound sulforaphane, found abundantly in broccoli sprouts, "is a very powerful mechanism for reducing the risk of cancer, and probably many other chronic degenerative conditions as well," he said. The compound works, he continued, by activating so-called Phase 2 genes that code for proteins that protect cells against some of the most damaging toxic and chemical effects that lead to neoplasms. Similar to drugs, bioactive food components have specific sites of action. This could one day help identify those people who would benefit most from dietary change.
NCI Featured in New PBS Documentary
Five NCI scientists are featured in an upcoming PBS documentary, CancerStory, slated to air on 82 PBS stations starting this April. The documentary, which was produced by the Norris Cotton Cancer Center of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, is designed to put the complexities of cancer into terms the average person can understand and use. The program consists of four hour-long segments that focus on the biological mechanisms of cancer, the experiences of cancer survivors, promising new cancer treatments, and screening and prevention. NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach and NCI researchers Drs. Peter Greenwald, C. Norman Coleman, Julia Rowland, and Meg Mooney all contributed to the documentary. Their interviews and a comprehensive list of stations that will be airing the documentary can be found at http://www.cancerstory.org. For specific airtimes, check your local PBS listings.
CCR Fellow Wins Ruth and William Silen, M.D., Award
Dr. Samuel T. Waters, one of four CCR fellows who participated in last month's New England Science Symposium in Boston, has won the Ruth and William Silen, M.D., award for his talk entitled, "Genetic Analysis of Mouse Gbχ Transcription Factors During Neural Development." Dr. Waters is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Mark Lewandoski at NCI-Frederick.
NCI Holds Science Writers' Seminar at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
On March 23 NCI held its 13th science writers' seminar. Hosted jointly with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the seminar was entitled "New Frontiers in Prostate Cancer Treatment and Prevention," and included presentations by a panel of experts from NCI and MSKCC. Panelists included Drs. Peter Scardino, Michael Zelefsky, and Howard Scher, all of MSKCC, who discussed new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer; and Drs. Howard Parnes and Leslie Ford of NCI, who spoke about the recently completed Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial and new avenues in prostate cancer prevention.
The next science writers' seminar on children and cancer is scheduled for April 26 at the Children's Inn on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. Journalists who wish to attend can contact the NCI Press Office at (301) 496-6641 or firstname.lastname@example.org.