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    Meet Our 2015 Grantees 
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Innovative studies focus on prevention and survivorship

How can what you eat and how much you weigh affect inflammation, cancer development, and prognosis? How do compounds found in tomatoes, broccoli, and soy affect your cancer risk? These are a few of the questions that scientists around the country are investigating, with AICR support. The studies hold promise for making a real difference in how to prevent and survive cancer.

Here's a summary of our newest grantees' research.

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Improving breast cancer survivorship

Four of AICR's newest grantees are studying the impact of diet, physical activity, and weight loss on women undergoing treatment for breast cancer and long-term survivors.

Dr. Rowan Chlebowski's study focuses on dietary strategies for improved breast cancer survivorship while Dr. Jennifer Ligibel will examine the effect of exercise on the cellular pathways involved in breast cancer progression. Dr. Melinda Irwin and Dr. Henry Thompson are both studying the diet and lifestyle changes that promote weight loss in overweight breast cancer survivors.

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Diet, inflammation, and prostate cancer

Inflammation, low-glycemic index diets, and phytochemicals are hot areas in cancer research and new AICR grantees are examining their effects on prostate cancer. 

Dr. Jay Fowke is interested in whether the inflammation associated with central obesity is linked with increased risk of prostate cancer, while Dr. Stephanie Smith-Warner's study seeks to understand the effect of diets that increase glucose and insulin on prostate cancer.

Lycopene — a phytochemical found in tomatoes and linked to lower risk of prostate cancer in animal studies — is the focus of Dr. Steven Clinton's research, which will increase understanding of the types of lycopene that are optimal for cancer prevention.

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Diet, exercise, and recurrent ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer, often not diagnosed until in its late stages. AICR's newest grantees are studying how diet and exercise can help patients currently undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. 

Dr. Barbara Gower will test the effect of a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet — known as a ketogenic diet — on patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, while Dr. Rosemarie Schmandt will use a mouse model of recurrent ovarian cancer to study how exercise may inhibit tumor growth.

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Colorectal cancer: Vitamin D, walnuts, and carbohydrates

Three of AICR's newest grantees are interested in how different components of diet affect colorectal cancer risk and outcomes after diagnosis. 

Dr. Leonard Augenlicht will study how vitamin D influences the stem cells that give rise to colorectal tumors, while Dr. Derek Huffman's research focuses on the effect of walnuts and obesity in a mouse model of colorectal cancer. 

Dr. Kana Wu seeks to understand how sugar, refined carbohydrates, and high-glycemic load foods impact prognosis in individuals undergoing treatment for colorectal cancer.

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Dietary patterns and cancer risk

Dr. Susan Steck developed a dietary inflammatory index to characterize overall dietary patterns as pro- or anti-inflammatory and her previous research has found that pro-inflammatory dietary patterns before cancer diagnosis are associated with greater risk of death from gastrointestinal cancers.

Now she will apply the index to measure dietary patterns after cancer diagnosis. Her research will help determine whether anti-inflammtory diets after diagnosis reduce the risk of death from cancer or other causes.

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Cancer prevention across the life course

What you eat and how much you weigh in childhood may have an impact on cancer risk later in life, a link that three of AICR's newest grantees are seeking to understand.Dr. Joanne Dorgan is studing how diet in childhood influences weight and breast density, which impact later cancer risk.

Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke's study will shed light on whether long-term intake of genistein, a phytochemical found in soy, can prevent the resistance to anti-estrogen therapy often found in breast cancer patients.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli are rich in the phytochemical sulforaphane and have epigenetic effects that can prevent breast cancer. Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol's study will help determine when cruciferous vegetable intake has the greatest impact on later development of breast cancer.

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Protein, exercise, and childhood cancer survivors

Survivors of childhood cancers often have less lean muscle mass as adults. Dr. Kirsten Ness' study will examine the effects of weight-lifting and protein supplementation on muscle mass, physical well-being, and overall health on young adult survivors of childhood cancers.

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More on our new grantees

For more detail on each of our grantees, see:

The Researchers, The Studies: AICR 2015 Grantees

To learn more about AICR's grant program and what research has to say about diet, physical activity, weight and cancer prevention, visit:

AICR's Foods that Fight Cancer

Research Grants

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Richard Ensminger

Richard K. Ensminger

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Ann Wrenshall Worley

Assistant Director of Planned Giving

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