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Nutrition and Cancer Message from the Director - W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D.

Richard Niles, PhDWelcome to the Marshall University Nutrition and Cancer Center web site. It has been estimated that a third to half of all cancers are directly related to diet. West Virginia has one of the highest rates of cancer in the country, without a doubt many of these cancers could be PREVENTED by some diet and lifestyle changes. Because of this, we think this Center is especially important to Marshall University and to West Virginia. Our Center is supported by a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence award from the National Center for Research Resources. Our Genomics Core also receives partial support from an IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence award.

Individual investigators in our center are studying a variety of cancers including: breast, prostate, colon, melanoma, non small cell lung cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and myelocytic leukemia. We use relevant animal models to identify potential benefit, cell culture models to assess mechanisms and have state of the art DNA sequencing capabilities to assess genomic changes due to components of the diet. Studies assess a number of important aspects of cancer development including initial development of the cancer, growth of the cancer during supplementation with a dietary component and the influence of the component on cancer response to treatment. One study is looking at the influence of the mother’s diet while she is pregnant and nursing on cancer risk in the offspring. It is of vital importance to test the results of laboratory work in a clinical trial. To meet this aim, we have initiated a pilot clinical trial to determine the value of a dietary supplement in humans and, as research progresses, we hope to increase the number of clinical trials.

We know that there are many claims for the value of nutritional components to combat cancer that lack valid scientific evidence. To help sort out all the claims, we provide links to sound sources for scientific information on the influence of nutrition on cancer.

We hope that you find the information here interesting and informative. As an outreach activity, we will be glad to provide a scientist to give a lay presentation to your group on the importance of diet to cancer development or about a specific aspect of the ongoing cancer research at Marshall University.

Thanks for viewing our site. Come back often for updates on our research progress and on the achievements of our faculty members.

W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D.
Nutrition and Cancer Center
Associate Professor,
Dep. of Biochemistry and Microbiology

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