Hope Co-Sponsors International
Conference on Cancer Prevention

Posted September 14, 2000

HOLLAND -- More than 200 biomedical researchers from around the world will gather in Grand Rapids later this month for an international conference on cancer prevention co-sponsored by Hope College. The Seventh International Conference on Mechanisms of Antimutagenesis and Anticarcinogenesis (ICMAA) will be held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids on Saturday-Wednesday, Sept. 23-27. Topics will range from the impact of diet, to recent advances using laboratory and human studies and the ethics of human studies, to DNA damage and repair. Many of the presentations will touch on day-to-day experience, according to Dr. James Gentile of the Hope faculty, who is helping to organize the event. He noted that the seminars on diet, for example, will cover issues such as whether or not enhanced dietary fibre is beneficial; whether or not taking supplements like Vitamin C is helpful; and whether or not natural foods and drinks, like green tea, are cancer preventatives--and, if so, how they work. This year is only the second time that the conference, held about once every two years, has been held in the United States. The gathering presents several of the world's top researchers in the effort to identify how cancer happens and how to present it, Gentile said. "This group has really been at the forefront of trying to unlock the common denominators in our everyday lifestyle and everyday life that aid in the resistance of cancer," said Gentile, who is dean for the natural sciences and the Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Biology at Hope. He chairs the event's Scientific Program Committee and is editor-in-chief of "Mutation Research," which is the leading international journal in the field and will publish the results of the meeting. "The people that are speaking as the invited speakers were carefully selected because they are leaders in the field," he said. Following opening activities on Saturday, which will feature a keynote address by Gary Koloff of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, each day will focus on a different general topic. Sunday will consider basic molecular biology; Monday, the role of chemistry; Tuesday, the role of diet; and Wednesday, human studies. Nations represented by the researchers making presentations including Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. Organizations represented range from the German Cancer Research Center and the National Cancer Center of Japan; to universities such as Johns Hopkins University, the University of Victoria in Canada and Seoul National University; to corporations including Dow Chemical Corporation and Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research. The ICMAA is organized by Elsevier Science in association with "Mutation Research." Hope is co-sponsoring the conference with Dow Chemical, the Nutrilite Division of Amway, Parke-Davis, and the U.S. Environmental Mutagen Society. Previous meetings of the ICMAA were held in Archanon, France; Pisa, Italy; Oshima and Hakone, Japan; Lawrence, Kan.; and Banff, Canada. West Michigan developed as this year's site with Hope as a co-sponsor because of the college's research emphasis and the region's role in the field, as exemplified by the Van Andel Institute, according to Gentile. "We were selected to host the conference because Hope College is recognized for doing this kind of research," Gentile said. "This event is just another example of the value added in having a biomedical research focus in West Michigan." Several of the participants will be visiting the Hope campus during the conference. In addition to Gentile, key members of the local program committee at Hope include Glenda Gentile, who is a research associate, and Tracey Arndt, who is administrative assistant to the dean for the natural sciences. Hope students will be attending the conference in addition to helping organize the event. -30-

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