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NCI Considering Nutrigenetics Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute wants to know how to best study nutrigenetics as a way of determining responses to bioactive food components and to evaluate these components as biomarkers for predicting risk and tumor behavior.

In a new request for information, NCI is asking interested researchers and other parties to provide suggestions about how to design dietary intervention trials to study such nutrigenetics approaches to preventing, treating, or making predictions about cancer.

In the RFI from NCI's Nutritional Science Research Group, the institute points out that "increasing evidence points to diet as a modifier of cancer risk and tumor behavior," but adds that the research literature is "filled with many inconsistencies."

Specifically, NCI thinks that genetic variants involved in food absorption, metabolism, and excretion could serve as biomarkers for predicting which individuals will respond best to dietary modifications for preventing or treating cancer. Such genetic interactions could also potentially be used to predict which individuals may be at risk when consuming suboptimal diets at low, exaggerated, or excessive intakes, according to NCI.

NCI is seeking feedback that could inform more advanced studies in these areas, including research into diet-sensitive genetic modifications that could be used as cancer intervention studies, bioactive food components that warrant further study, specific processes related to genes with molecular targets that are diet sensitive, and critical issues that are limiting this area of investigation.