HEALTH

CRN honors Mason, Chen for safety, efficacy research of bioactive compounds

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Joel Mason and Hong Chen were both honored earlier this week by the Council for Responsible Nutrition with the Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award and the Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award, respectively, during the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2010 in Anaheim, Calif.

The awards, jointly presented by ASN and the CRN, are given with the intent to recognize outstanding research on the safety and efficacy of bioactive compounds for human health.

“It is gratifying to partner with ASN to honor scientists for their work, and it is a particular privilege to present the 2010 Mary Swartz Rose awards to both Dr. Mason and Dr. Chen as their work is critical for further understanding the role of nutrition in colon cancer,” stated Andrew Shao, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN.

Mason, of Tufts University, first began studying how the intake of folate and other 1-carbon nutrients modulate the risk of developing cancer in the 1980s, helping turn the field of which he was a pioneer into one of the more popular fields in nutrition research. His laboratory’s clinical trials were among the first to define how folate supplementation impacts on molecular events in the colon. More recently, he has been a proponent of the “duel” effect of folate on cancer, hypothesizing that the rise in colorectal cancer rates in North America in the mid-1990’s was related to excessive amounts of folic acid in the foodstream. Mason currently serves on the Professional Education Committee of the American Society for Nutrition and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Chen, assistant professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana, has established herself as an important contributor to the understanding of the role of epigenetic modifications on colon cancer and prevention, as well as how they are regulated by dietary components in colon tumor cells and animal models. In the future, Chen’s current hypothesis which is under investigation could help in the understanding of soy bioactives and their effects on the epigenome and may, ultimately, aid in the development of efficacious dietary interventions for colon cancer prevention.

These awards are named in honor of the late Mary Swartz Rose (1874–1941), a founder and president of the American Institute of Nutrition (now known as ASN). The Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award is given to an investigator with 10 years or more of postgraduate training, for outstanding preclinical and/or clinical research on the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements as well as essential nutrients and other biologically active food components that might be distributed as supplements or components in functional foods. The Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award is based on the same research qualifications, but is given to an investigator with 10 or less years of postgraduate training.

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Regulators express concerns over cargo thefts

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. An increase in cargo thefts of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and other products has regulators worried, according to a letter sent to several companies Wednesday.

Michael Chappell, acting assistant commissioner for regulatory affairs at the Food and Drug Administration, wrote in the letter that agency was “very concerned” about the increase in cargo and warehouse thefts of drugs, vaccines, medical devices and infant formula.

“These crimes threaten the public health because product that has left the legitimate supply chain poses potential safety risks to consumers,” Chappell wrote.

The letter comes in the wake of a sophisticated theft of $75 million in drugs from an Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Conn. The agency said it hoped the letter would encourage companies to review and strengthen security.

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New anti-meth campaign targets Native American community

BY Michael Johnsen

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske on Wednesday unveiled a new anti-methamphetamine ad campaign that launched in New Mexico and in 14 other states with the largest Native American populations.

According to national data, meth use rates for American Indian/Alaska Native populations remain among the highest of any ethnicity — almost two times higher than other groups, according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Specifically, American Indians or Alaska Natives almost are twice as likely to have used meth in the past year than whites (1.1% vs. 0.6%) or Hispanics (1.1% vs. 0.6%), and approximately five times more likely to have used meth than African Americans (1.1% vs. 0.2%).

“The data about methamphetamine abuse in the Native American community are troubling,” Kerlikowske said. “This ad campaign will supplement the important work for prevention and treatment already being done by the Native American community, local prevention groups, law enforcement, and treatment providers.”

The Native American Anti-Meth Campaign, in its third year coordinated by ONDCP’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, is the only national anti-meth advertising campaign tailored to reach both youth and adults in Indian Country and Alaska Native lands. The campaign includes TV commercials, print and radio ads, and billboard advertising in 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Utah. The ads will run until August, and Native groups and others will be able to download and use the ads as free PSAs in their local communities.

“This ad campaign is very important to Indian Country,” stated Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary — Indian affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior. “Drug abuse is always a disturbing issue to confront for any community, and methamphetamine abuse is something we need to address with an aggressive approach.”

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