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Local Cancer Researcher Receives Grant

<div>A local cancer researcher is one step closer to finding a cure after a generous monetary donation.
Since the 1980's, Dr. Paul Sylvester has been studying cancer and its relation to diet. It began with looking at different types of fats and oils.

After much research, Sylvester found that palm oil actually inhibited breast cancer in mammals.

"So, we were trying to figure out why," recalled Dr. Paul Sylvester, College of Pharmacy, ULM."

And it turns out that palm oil is a rare type of dietary oil that has high amounts of a very rare form of vitamin E. It's called tocotrienols."

And Sylvester claims that tocotrienol has a very potent anti-cancer activity.

"We went from studying fat and cancer, to studying vitamin E and cancer," Sylvester explained.

For dozens of years, he's been studying exactly how this rare form of vitamin E functions-- from its mechanisms of action to understanding what receptors it works on.

Now, Sylvester is ready to move to clinical trials, and then, finally, the commercialization of the research... which is a costly process.

Thankfully, U.L.M. College of Pharmacy received a $10,000 grant.

"This is the kind of money that keeps the lab going," said Sylvester.

The money comes from the Louisiana Cancer Foundation, an organization that has donated thousands of dollars to U.L.M.'s cancer research over the years.

During the clinical trials, there will be preventative and reactionary treatments depending on a patient's cancer risk level. Low risk patients, people with cancer running in the family, will take preventative supplements. Since the vitamin E is a natural food product, researchers say patients' bodies will absorb it through tablets. For higher-risk patients, a different approach is taken.

"When you treat aggressive, solid tumors, you have to be quite aggressive," suggested Sylvester. "And that would be an injectable form."

The clinics are expected to start in the near future.
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