MONROE, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– Dr. Paul Sylvester has been teaching students for years, but he’s also been a student himself researching treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
“What we are trying to do is come up with new treatments that are effective and without having harsh adverse side effects that a lot of chemotherapy has,” Dr. Sylvester said.
Over the last 15 years, the Louisiana Cancer Foundation has donated more than $140,000 to Dr. Sylvester in support of his breast cancer research. The most recent donation was $10,000.
“I’m just grateful for the Lousiana Cancer Foundation’s support and also the friendship,” Dr. Sylvester said.
With the help of the LCF’s donations, he’s been able to work on drug discovery. He said they’ve found certain forms of vitamin e has very potent anti-cancer activity, particularly in breast cancer.
“Vitamin E is a family of compounds and they’re all very similar chemically,” Dr. Sylvester said. “But there are subtle differences and the tocotrienols are the ones that show the anti-cancer activity.”
The idea is to use the tocotrienol to stop the cancer’s growth and survival.
“What is keeping the cancer growing and alive, tocotrienols shuts that down, and then as a result the cancer cells not only stop growing, but eventually die,” Dr. Sylvester said.
Dr. Sylvester said a lot of traditional chemotherapy can be quite toxic to the patient. That’s because while chemo targets the cancer cell, it has negative effects on normal cells. He said this would be a safer alternative.
“At doses that kill cancer cells, they are essentially non-toxic to normal cells, so that’s an advantage of these compounds,” Dr. Sylvester said.
Dr. Sylvester said hopefully in the near future, they’ll get to the next step, which is clinical research and treating people. He said getting to that, will take some time and more discoveries.