Garlic, Wine and Chocolate – The Effects of Nutrition on Cancer

One of my most popular lectures is titled: Garlic, Wine and Chocolate. Not surprisingly, almost everyone likes to have a medical reason to eat fine food, drink fine wine and eat dessert. As an editor of the Journal of Medicinal Food, our mission is to examine the scientific basis of foods as medicinal substances.

In our inaugural issue in 1998, I authored the lead article on garlic as a medicinal. Garlic contains more than a dozen active chemical substances, many of which have been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, blood pressure and cholesterol lowering, as well as anti-cancer benefits. We have also published definitive studies on wine and grape extracts, with a focus on resveratrol, proanthocyanins and other polyphenols; as well as an entire issue on chocolate (the extract of cacao), which examined the potent antioxidants and immune modulatory compounds found therein.

With this background, lectures on these topics have been a natural direction for our public education series through our affiliated hospitals and educational institutions. For readers in the Southern California area, you are invited to attend lectures of this type open to the public. Please leave a comment if you are interested in more information or copies of the above-mentioned articles.

About Dr. Robert A. Nagourney
Dr. Nagourney received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Boston University and his doctor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, where he was a University Scholar. After a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Irvine, he went on to complete fellowship training in medical oncology at Georgetown University, as well as in hematology at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla. During his fellowship at Georgetown University, Dr. Nagourney confronted aggressive malignancies for which the standard therapies remained mostly ineffective. No matter what he did, all of his patients died. While he found this “standard of care” to be unacceptable, it inspired him to return to the laboratory where he eventually developed “personalized cancer therapy.” In 1986, Dr. Nagourney, along with colleague Larry Weisenthal, MD, PhD, received a Phase I grant from a federally funded program and launched Oncotech, Inc. They began conducting experiments to prove that human tumors resistant to chemotherapeutics could be re-sensitized by pre-incubation with calcium channel blockers, glutathione depletors and protein kinase C inhibitors. The original research was a success. Oncotech grew with financial backing from investors who ultimately changed the direction of the company’s research. The changes proved untenable to Dr. Nagourney and in 1991, he left the company he co-founded. He then returned to the laboratory, and developed the Ex-vivo Analysis - Programmed Cell Death ® (EVA-PCD) test to identify the treatments that would induce programmed cell death, or “apoptosis.” He soon took a position as Director of Experimental Therapeutics at the Cancer Institute of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. His primary research project during this time was chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He remained in this position until the basic research program funding was cut, at which time he founded Rational Therapeutics in 1995. It is here where the EVA-PCD test is used to identity the drug, combinations of drugs or targeted therapies that will kill a patient's tumor - thus providing patients with truly personalized cancer treatment plans. With the desire to change how cancer care is delivered, he became Medical Director of the Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial in 2003. In 2008, he returned to Rational Therapeutics full time to rededicate his time and expertise to expand the research opportunities available through the laboratory. He is a frequently invited lecturer for numerous professional organizations and universities, and has served as a reviewer and on the editorial boards of several journals including Clinical Cancer Research, British Journal of Cancer, Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Research and the Journal of Medicinal Food.

One Response to Garlic, Wine and Chocolate – The Effects of Nutrition on Cancer

  1. Pingback: The Role of Natural Products in the Treatment of Cancer « Dr. Robert A. Nagourney's Blog

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