During the lunch session on the first day of the 20th Annual AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity, the American Institute for Cancer Research honored Dr. Ritva Butrum, who served for many years as AICR’s Vice-President for Research and is now its Senior Scientific Advisor.
At the most recent International Congress of Nutrition, the International Union of Nutritional Sciences named Dr. Butrum a Living Legend. It was only the latest honor in Dr. Butrum’s long and illustrious career. In front of the AICR Research Conference’s 410 attendees, AICR CFO/Executive Vice-President Kelly Browning gave Dr. Butrum a small gift to commemorate her many years of leadership.
Watch a video in which Dr. Butrum talks about her career, and gives advice to young researchers.
The morning research conference session starts out with the tantalizing question of how can delay aging, asked by Rafael de Cabo, PhD. Dr. Cabo, who works at NIH’s National Institute on Aging, said how in the lab, the only way that we can restrict aging so far is by calorie restriction. Caloric restriction also delays tumor formation. (In lab research, caloric restriction diets are usually extreme.)
Caloric restriction seems counter-intuitive, he explains. You would think that lowering one’s calories – energy – would lead to fatigue and the organisms’ functions would shut down. But that is not the case; it somehow uses the energy it has in a different way.
Somehow, Dr. Cabo said, the organism or cell has a way to sense the nutrients. Dr. Cabo presented his lab’s research on the link between a specific gene — Nrf2 – and caloric restriction. He is looking at if Nrf2 activates the effect of calorie restriction, and if so, how it works. As usual, his research is turning up more questions and is ongoing.
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