International Breast Cancer and Nutrition

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About the IBCN

  • Breast cancer incidence is rising at different rates all over the world
  • Globally, breast cancer is ranked second in occurrence after lung cancer of all cancers
  • Low and middle income countries are witnessing a rapid rise of aggressive forms of breast cancer especially in young women

Nutrition is recognized as a common link in breast cancer, but its precise role is not understood.  The International Breast Cancer and Nutrition Project (IBCN) was launched at an international symposium at Purdue University in October 2010. This is the first dedicated worldwide effort toward exploring the links between diet, the genome, and the risk of breast cancer.

Why do a global study?

Understanding the links between diet and breast cancer requires a broad-based, unique, and fresh approach that investigates how diversity of regional diet together with genome modifications affect breast cancer development.  What sets the IBCN project apart is the inclusion of international public health policymakers and the multidisciplinary effort with researchers from life science and social sciences in the study design and implementation outset.

What is the IBCN approach?

Multidisciplinary research teams working in countries around the world will collect diet information and breast tissue and blood samples. Our purpose is to enable developing countries with the same technological and scientific benefits that ensure equal attention to understanding the connection between diet and breast cancer. In doing so the epigenome (i.e., the second-code of instruction or environment of the DNA that influences the expression of genes) of individual samples will be analyzed for the purpose of identifying significant differences between tissues taken from healthy and sick individuals of vastly different diet cultures. To foster communication and speed information sharing, discussions among project scientists and partner organizations will be held at annual symposia and at regular intervals throughout the year by tele- and video conferencing.

What will be the outcomes and impact of IBCN? 

  • Breast cancer prevention strategies that will improve the health of women around the world.
  • Identification of the causes of breast cancer and its links to diet, culture, and environment.
  • Improved communication of research results to researchers, medical practitioners, and public health decision makers with game-changing global policy implications.
  • Infrastructure to fund, conduct and disseminate global discovery.
  • Provide training across disciplines via an interdisciplinary course on breast cancer prevention that promotes student contact and feeds a sustainable student study abroad exchange program.

Who will lead and manage the IBCN project?

  • Sophie Lelièvre DVM, LLM (public Health), PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, and Associate Director, Discovery Groups, Purdue Center for Cancer Research lelievre@purdue.edu
  • Connie Weaver, PhD, Head, Department of Foods and Nutrition, and Deputy Director, Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute weavercm@purdue.edu

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