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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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Cancer research supports Word of Wisdom

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Cancer research supports Word of Wisdom
(BYU) Daily Universe 26May99 C7
By Amber Blair: NewsNet Staff Writer

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have known for years what science is just now beginning to discover and prove. Refraining from tobacco and alcohol use is a major factor in fighting cancer. In a scientific forum on Tuesday at the campus of Brigham Young University, Dr. Kim O'Neill reported the findings.

"On February 27, l833, we were counseled that tobacco is not for the body. Since the early 1960's, tobacco has been seen to be a major contributor to cancer-related deaths," O'Neill said. "Alcohol has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer," he added. Noting that diet is another factor in the prevention of cancer O'Neill said, "Only our diet rivals tobacco smoke as a cause of cancer in the United States...Many scientific studies show that eating fruit and vegetables protect against cancers at many sites."

Jenny Walker is a senior from Torrance, California and is majoring in human development. The information from O'Neill had a personal application for her. "I was interested in the part he spoke on the prevention of cancer, and diet," Walker said. "My dad died of colon cancer, so I have always been interested in any way of preventing it. For someone who fears that cancer may be inherited, it gives me hope to see research and treatment to be moving forward."

With more than l6 years in cancer research, O'Neill explained that cancer represents a group of many related diseases. Cancer involves out-of-control cell growth and the spread of these abnormal cells. "Cancer is a generic name for a group of diseases that share a common type of disordered growth," O'Neill said.

Believing that cancer can be controlled on three main fronts, O'Neill explained the need to enhance the defense system of the body, the use of prevention through education and the importance of early diagnosis, especially in the fight against many kinds of tumors. This is an area of extensive study for O'Neill. He discovered that thynidine kinase (TK), a chemical that is involved in DNA synthesis and also DNA repair, is directly correlated to advancement of cancer in patients.

A former student of O'Neill's, Natalie Larsen said, "Since I took his genetics class in the fall of 1998, it was exciting to hear the progress he has made on his research of TK." "His discovery of the monoclomal antibody is a huge step towards the treatment and prevention of cancer."

Further understanding of this has opened doors in O'Neill's research. David Wall, a senior from Guttenber, Iowa is majoring in molecular biology and is involved in his own studies and research of cancer. "I think Dr. O'Neill is an excellent researcher," Wall said. "He already has, and will continue to have a big impact on the research of cancer."

"It is interesting to note that recent cancer prevention guidlines advise the non-use of tobacco and alcohol, and overall dietary pattern that includes a high proportion of plant foods, fruit, vegetables, grains, limited amounts of meat, dairy, and other high fat products, and a balanced caloric intake coupled with physical activity. Information we have known since 1833," O'Neill said.

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