Blood/Bone Marrow/Lymph Cancer

Michael De Lisio

De Lisio, Michael, Ph.D.

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine
The effects of obesity and exercise on radiation-induced leukemia

Dr. De Lisio’s project addresses the important issue of late effects of cancer therapy. Specifically, he and his team will evaluate how obesity and exercise mitigate the risk of radiation-induced leukemia. Growing numbers of long-term cancer survivors means that the late effects of therapy, including radiation-induced cancers, are a major health concern. They want to know if obesity increases the risk of developing blood cancers following radiation exposure, and if exercise can mitigate this risk. They will use mice to test the effects of diet-induced obesity and exercise on radiation-induced blood cancer. They expect to identify obesity as a factor that increases radiation-induced blood cancer risk, and introduce exercise as a viable intervention to decrease this risk.

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Brain Cancer

Kenneth Schwartz

Schwartz, Kenneth, M.D.

Michigan State University
Pilot study of a metabolic nutritional therapy for the management of primary brain tumors

Patients who are diagnosed with a certain kind of brain cancer (glioblastoma) have an average life expectancy of only 12 to 15 months. This project is a 12-week pilot study to test the use of nutritional therapy in brain cancer patients. The therapy will use an energy restricted ketogenic diet, which has been shown to decrease tumor growth in mice.

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Breast Cancer

Kucera, Greg

Kucera, Greg

Wake Forest University
Effects of Fish Oil on Lipid Metabolites in Breast Cancer

Studies have shown that diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids may promote breast cancer, while diets high in omega-3 fatty acids may decrease one’s risk of breast cancer. Dr. Kucera and his team hypothesize that ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids can actually alter the detrimental effects of omega-6 fatty acids, providing protection from their tumor-stimulating properties. His study is one that has never been studied in human breast tissue, and may provide important implications for the role that fish oil supplements can play in the prognosis of breast cancer patients.

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Jennifer Ligibel

Ligibel, Jennifer, M.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Impact of Physical Activity on Tumor Gene Expression in Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer

An on-going study at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Pre-Operative Health and Body Study, evaluates the impact of exercise on human breast cancer cells in an effort to understand how exercise could affect breast cancer risk and prognosis. The study enrolls women as they are diagnosed with breast cancer and assigns them to an exercise group or a control group. Breast tumor tissue is collected at the time of enrollment through a biopsy, and again at the time of breast surgery. The effect of exercise on tumor tissue is assessed by comparing changes in tissue markers over time in patients assigned to the exercise group vs. the control group. Dr. Ligibel’s project will provide a more detailed analysis of the impact of exercise on breast tumor tissue, by studying exercise-induced changes in expression of genes and microRNAs. These evaluations will provide information about the cellular pathways that exercise affects in breast cancer cells, providing insight into how exercise could affect cancer formation and prognosis. The project will also evaluate whether changes in gene expression in breast tumor tissue differ according to patient or tumor characteristics, in order to determine which patients are most likely to derive benefit from exercise interventions.

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Connie Rogers

Rogers, Connie, Ph.D.

The Pennsylvania State University
Mechanisms underlying the protective effect of exercise on primary mammary tumor growth and metastases: Role of metabolic and immune-mediated processes

This proposal will address the issue of the "dose" or amount of diet and exercise necessary to achieve a cancer prevention effect, specifically with respect to breast cancer prevention. Currently, it is not known how much exercise (dose, duration, frequency) or how much dietary restriction is needed for cancer prevention. Dr. Rogers and her team hypothesize that mild dietary restriction and increased physical activity will have additive effects to prevent breast cancer. They will use an animal model of breast cancer to test our hypotheses and study mechanisms. These studies will provide critical information about the amount of calorie reduction and physical activity necessary to achieve a cancer prevention effect.

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Colorectal Cancer

Angela Murphy

Murphy, Angela, Ph.D.

University of South Carolina
Sex-specific differences in obesity enhanced colorectal cancer

Obese men are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than their female counterparts. Dr. Murphy will examine estrogen’s regulation of inflammation as a potential mechanism for this response. Understanding the mechanisms that drive the sex-specific differences in obesity-enhanced colorectal cancer will help develop targeted treatments. Their hypothesis stipulates that estrogen's regulation of inflammation is responsible for the sex-specific differences in obesity-enhanced colorectal cancer. Using estrogen manipulation techniques and mouse models, the team will examine the role of estrogen in obesity-enhanced colorectal cancer. The use of hormone replacement therapy to prevent the inflammatory response that is associated with obesity may play a critical role in colorectal cancer prevention.

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Daniel Rosenberg

Rosenberg, Daniel, Ph.D.

University of Connecticut Health Center
Beneficial effects of walnut consumption on colon cancer and inflammation

Dr. Rosenberg’s research aims to examine the chemo-preventive efficacy of walnuts for reducing the incidence of colon cancer. His study will evaluate the effectiveness of walnuts in inhibiting the formation of precancerous lesions and tumors in three different mouse models. One of the goals of Dr. Rosenberg’s laboratory is to develop and implement effective approaches for colon cancer prevention.

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Multiple Sites Cancer

James Fleet

Fleet, James, Ph.D.

Purdue University
Regulation of tumor cell evasion from immune surveillance by vitamin D

The goal of immunotherapy for cancer is to stimulate the patients’ own immune system to find and destroy the cancer cells. Unfortunately, the tumor cells can evade immune surveillance - this makes immunotherapy less effective. Immunotherapy is a huge advance in cancer treatment but many patients do not respond to it. Dr. Fleet’s team hypothesizes that low vitamin D status alters the immune system in ways that help tumors evade immune surveillance. Through the use of mice, they will test whether low vitamin D signaling makes it harder for the immune system to attack tumor cells. This research is an early test of a simple intervention that might improve the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy.

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Cheryl Rock

Rock, Cheryl, Ph.D.

University of California, San Diego
Walnut Consumption in a Weight Loss Intervention: Effects on Weight Change, Satiety and Potential Mediating Factors

This study investigates whether walnuts help to promote weight loss, associated with increased meal satiety and satisfaction, in 100 overweight or obese men and women who are participating in a 6-month behavioral weight loss intervention. Participants will be randomly assigned to a walnut-enriched reduced-calorie diet or a standard reduced-calorie diet. Body weight, risk factors for heart disease, and self-reported feelings relevant to satiety and appetite will be measured at baseline and 3- and 6-month follow-up. The response of gastrointestinal tract hormones following meals with or without walnuts will be measured in a subset of study participants. Dr. Rock and her team hypothesize that participants assigned to the walnut-enriched diet will have greater weight loss and better improvements in heart disease risk factors, and that ratings of hunger, fullness, and anticipated future consumption will differ, compared to those prescribed the standard reduced-calorie diet. They are also interested in learning whether or not post-meal satiety- and appetite-related gastrointestinal hormones, which play a role in short-term control of appetite and may be biological indicators of satiety, differ in response to a meal with walnuts compared to a meal without walnuts. Results from this study will contribute to understanding the role of walnuts in weight control, including further knowledge of the mechanisms, and will expand knowledge of how walnuts in the diet may contribute to the prevention and management of obesity.

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Pancreatic Cancer

Jeanine Genkinger

Genkinger, Jeanine, Ph.D.

Columbia University
Weight Loss, Gain, and Cycling, Dietary and Lifestyle Patterns and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer incidence is increasing and 50% of people die within 6 months of diagnosis. Few modifiable factors are known to lower pancreatic cancer incidence. Diet and obesity may be important, yet the effects of weight changes, or following dietary guidelines on pancreatic cancer are not known. Dr. Genkinger will examine whether 1) weight loss, gain and cycling and 2) adherence to dietary and lifestyle patterns affects pancreatic cancer risk. Merging data from over 12 cohorts, the team will study diet, body weight and pancreatic cancer in the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer. By addressing these research questions, the results will provide the most complete evidence on these important factors, and advance knowledge about these factors for a highly fatal disease.

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Prostate Cancer

Fowke, Jay

Fowke, Jay

University of Tennessee Health Science Center
A prospective analysis of obesity and progression from HGPIN to prostate cancer

This study will examine the role of centralized obesity and inflammation in prostate cancer progression. Men with a certain abnormality in their prostatic glands, known as HGNPIN, will be identified and followed for conversion from HGPIN to prostate cancer. Body composition measurements will be collected. Study results will provide a comprehensive assessment of immune system regulation associated with centralized fat deposition and conversion from HGPIN to prostate cancer. It aims to explain the biological foundation to mediating pathways of prostate cancer progression and potential anti-inflammatory prevention strategies.

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Edward Giovannucci

Giovannucci, Edward, M.D., Sc.D.

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Association between lifestyle factors and tumor angiogenesis in prostate cancer

Prostate cancers vary widely in their ability to progress. One of the important factors for growth and progression is the tumor’s ability to stimulate the development of blood vessels to nourish it. If we find ways to inhibit development of new blood vessels, called “angiogenesis”, we can prevent prostate cancer from progressing. Some dietary factors have been linked to increasing and decreasing the growth of new blood vessels. Dr. Giovannucci will examine how dietary factors are associated with the degree of blood vessels in the tumor, measured among men with how have had their prostate removed. This study will inform on novel prostate cancer prevention strategies through diet so that, in future, men could be advised which dietary factors may help prevent prostate cancer from progressing.

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Stephanie Smith-Warner

Smith-Warner, Stephanie, Ph.D.

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Carbohydrate Quantity and Quality and Advanced Prostate Cancer Risk: Of Mice and Men

Dr. Smith-Warner will examine whether men who eat foods that elevate insulin and glucose levels have a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer risk in the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer. In a companion study, mice will be injected with prostate cancer cells and randomized to a diet with either no carbohydrates, a low-glycemic index Western diet, or a high-glycemic index Western diet. Relevant biomarkers and prostate cancer growth will then be compared. This proposal will strengthen the evidence for specific nutritional exposures in relation to cancer and will investigate mechanisms that link foods or dietary constituents to risk of advanced prostate cancer.

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Kathryn Wilson

Wilson, Kathryn, Sc.D.

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Coffee intake and advanced prostate cancer: studying risk and mechanisms

Dr. Wilson and her team will study whether coffee intake is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Coffee is a major source of antioxidants and has many biological effects, including a possible impact on cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and there are few established, modifiable risk factors. They hypothesize that higher intake of coffee is associated with lower risk of prostate cancer, and particularly for dying of prostate cancer. Through combining data from 15 studies, they will examine coffee intake and risk of prostate cancer and study how coffee impacts prostate tissue. Establishing whether coffee is associated with reduced prostate cancer risk will give men information on how to prevent the disease, and might also shed light on the biology of prostate cancer.

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