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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Yale: Experts Convene to Examine Alcohol’s Role in Cancer

Chronic alcohol abuse is considered to be an important risk factor for disease worldwide. In addition, alcohol and its metabolite, acetaldehyde, are recognized as carcinogens that contribute to four percent of cancer deaths. Although scientific studies began to show this association over 100 years ago, the role of alcohol in chronic diseases such as cancer is still not well understood by the public and medical professionals.

The 4th International Conference on Alcohol and Cancer was organized by Dr. Vasilis Vasiliou, the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology, sponsored by  the Yale School of Public Health, and supported by an R13 grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The conference, held in Newport, RI, brought together 75 international scholars with special interest in alcohol and/or cancer. The conference was opened on April 15 by Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, who outlined the current burden of alcohol-related disease worldwide and the existing research gaps that she considers a priority, including understanding dose amounts and the mechanisms by which ethanol affects the body. 

Other keynote speakers included Dr. Richard Caprioli (Vanderbilt University) who discussed state-of-the-art tissue imaging mass spectrometry, Dr. Michael Karin (University of California San Diego) who presented novel mechanisms involved in liver hepatocarcinogenesis, Dr. Hide Tsukamoto (University of Southern California) who discussed reprogramming of lipid metabolism in stellate cells during liver carcinogenesis and Dr. Charles Fuchs (the director of Yale Cancer Center) who covered big data approaches to prevent and treat colorectal cancer. Yale School of Public Health researchers, included Drs. Yawei Zhang, Caroline Johnson, Joshua Wallach and Yong Zhu.