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Three from Austin speak at national cancer meeting

Several scientists from the Hormel Institute are again leading the way in the fight against cancer — this time, by sharing it with other scientists.

The group is presenting its cutting-edge work through Wednesday at the American Association of Cancer Research conference in Orlando, Fla. The annual meeting showcases the best and latest in cancer research to advance the cause of treating and preventing cancer.

The Hormel Institute conducts cancer research into how the disease works, as well as what nontoxic, natural compounds can be used to prevent, control or cure cancer.

Breast cancer

Dr. Margot Cleary, leader of the Hormel Institute's nutrition and metabolism section, spoke Monday about the relation of cancer and obesity. She spoke about her section's consistent finding that the manner in which calories are restricted can affect the protective effect of calorie restriction on breast cancer development.


Cleary's section's findings indicate that people's bodies might be better suited for a "feast-or-famine" eating pattern, rather than the constant "feast" many people undergo these days. Up until recent times, people probably used to eat in more of a feast-or-famine manner, she said.

"Periods of eating restriction may allow precursor cancer cells to be literally starved to death," Cleary said.

Prostrate cancer

Dr. Mohammad Saleem, head of the Hormel Institute's molecular chemoprevention and therapeutics section, will speak at the conference about his prostate cancer research.

Lupeol, a chemical constituent found in fruits and vegetables, such as olives, strawberries, grapes, apples, cucumbers and medicinal herbs, qualifies as a potent inhibitor of androgen receptor. Androgen receptor plays a crucial role in the development of prostate cancer, according to Saleem's research team.

His lab section suggests that lupeol alone — or as an adjuvant to chemotherapeutic agents — could be developed to treat prostate cancer patients.

Role of mangos

Dr. Margarita Malakhova, a research assistant professor in the cellular and molecular biology section headed by Dr. Zigang Dong, the institute's executive director, was selected to present during a poster session at the conference.


In work with colleagues, Malakhova studied norathyriol, a compound found in mangos that has been shown to inhibit rapid cell growth and support cell death against human leukemia, as well as lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer cells.

Her research indicates that norathyriol might be a potential therapeutic and chemopreventive lead compound for targeting protein kinase in cancer cells.

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