HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Two researchers at Marshall University have been awarded federal funds totaling more than $1 million to assess the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on breast cancer development.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program has awarded Dr. Elaine Hardman, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and Dr. Philippe Georgel, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, competitive grants of $460,249 and $320,750, respectively. Hardman and Georgel received two of only 18 grants awarded nationwide through the program.
Over the next two years, Hardman and Georgel will use the funds to confirm earlier observations that consumption of canola oil, as a source of omega-3 fatty acid, in the maternal diet of mice could reduce risk for breast cancer in the offspring, and to identify the genetic changes associated with a maternal diet that contains omega-3 fatty acid. They hope to find out how canola oil is altering the expression of genes, with the goal of developing a panel of biomarkers to asses risk for breast cancer development in humans.
A third grant of $266,000 to Hardman from the National Institutes of Health will fund the final year of a related four-year study.
According to Hardman, the studies highlight the importance of diet in alteringeither reducing or increasingcancer risk and the importance of maternal diet in cancer risk of the offspring.
"Clinically, this is exciting! We know that maternal diet is important for the immediate health of the baby but are just beginning to learn of the importance for long-term health," she said. "If a woman can be very careful of her diet for the time of gestation and lactation, the baby may have reduced risk for not only cancer but also heart disease and diabetes."
Hardman said collaboration is the key to success in today's research environmen
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Marshall University Research Corporation