posted September 14, 2000

Cancer Prevention Conference

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.