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Beneficial and Adverse Effects of Natural, Bioactive Dietary Chemicals on Human Health and Food Safety


<ol> <LI> Investigate the cellular and molecular modes of action by which natural bioactive chemicals in food protect against human diseases such as cancer, inflammation and microbial infection. <LI> Determine cellular effects and molecular mechanisms of natural and induced toxicants in food for human risk assessment and disease prevention.<LI>Detect and identify new natural or induced bioactive compounds in foods that have beneficial or adverse effects on human health. <LI> Ascertain how agricultural production and food processing may influence production/stability of natural bioactive chemicals.

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Non-Technical Summary: Women are consuming dietary phytoestrogens as a natural and 'perceived' safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy. Interference with successful anti-hormone breast cancer therapies is critical issue since estrogen-like dietary compounds can negate the effectiveness of these therapies. Metastasis to other sites is the main cause of mortality in breast cancer patients. Therefore, the safety of dietary phytoestrogens on breast cancer metastasis presents a critical need for appropriately designed investigations. We will evaluate the effect of dietary phytoestrogens on breast cancer rates in a preclinical animal model. Evaluation of metastasis will involve the injection of human breast cancer cells into the tail vein and following tumor occurrence in lung, kidney, liver and bone. Results from these studies will provide valuable information to health professionals so that appropriated recommendations can be made to women with or at high risk of breast cancer. <P> Approach: Our research approach is to continue to work with dietary phytoestrogens with an emphasis on tumor growth, progression and metastasis. Most of the focus will be on genistein and equol. We will also evaluate other phytoestrogens being consumed by women such as those contained in estrogenic herbal mixtures. We will utilize a combination of chemical methods to characterize the dietary phytoestrogens-containing products and then evaluate the biological relevance using a combination of cell and whole animal tumor growth studies.

Helferich, William (Bill)
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
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