Experts predicted it some time ago: in light of the general aging of the population around the world, and in Italy in particular, cancers will increase exponentially. The most recent estimates confirm this: one in three Italians will develop cancer in their lifetime and new cases in our country are growing. By 2022, almost all of them had been registered 400 thousand. “As the years go by, on the one hand, the damage to DNA accumulates, which promotes the formation of cancerous masses, on the other hand, the body’s ability to repair cells decreases – he recalls Paul Veronesi, president of the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, committed to the prevention and support of scientific research since its creation in 2003 —. Here because the danger of getting sick increases with age, but each of us can do a lot to limit the risk: a daily “cure” based on good golden rules, simple and free. It can be said follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, combat overweight and obesity, do not smoke and limit alcohol consumption».
The UMBERTO project
This has now been amply demonstrated by numerous studies worldwide more than a third of tumors would not develop with the right lifestyle. Specialists have been repeating it for years, but the message has difficulty converting into a concrete commitment. Indeed, bad habits in our country are becoming more and more common: 33% of adults are overweight, 10% are obese, 24% smoke, a third are sedentary. And the statistics are alarming for children and adolescents as well. It stems from these premises the UMBERTO projectdeveloped by the Veronesi Foundation (which supports her with more than a million euros in five years) e IRCCS Neuromed from Pozzilli. “Faced with this situation, it is essential to invest resources not only to improve the therapies and diagnosis of tumors, but also to prevent their occurrence – emphasizes Paolo Veronesi -. It is urgent to understand the role of lifestyles to study and strengthen, especially regarding eating habits. Fondazione Veronesi celebrates its first 20 years, we have always supported the work of the most brilliant researchers who are committed to both innovative treatments in oncologyboth in terms of nutrigenomics and from prevention». Nutrigenomics is the science that studies the relationship between genetic heritage and food, how the molecules we introduce with the diet influence our genes and thus our health, both positively and negatively.
Nutrigenomics and prevention
«Nutrigenomics goes hand in hand with prevention in particular chronic cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and cancer diseasesresponsible for three quarters of deaths in developed countries – he explains Marialaura Bonaccio, epidemiologist at IRCCS Neuromed and coordinator of the UMBERTO project —. A correct lifestyle is the first weapon available to everyone to fight most diseases and the goal we set for ourselves is to understand how “good habits” (especially food) can really affect our long-term risk of developing cancer, especially the breast, colon and prostate, the most common». Specifically, the project uses an IT platform, a biobank and a database to explore the relationship between diet and cancer, with a focus on Mediterranean diet, the undisputed model of healthy and balanced nutrition. So much so that it was already recognized in 2010 as Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity precisely because of its indisputable beneficial properties. “Almost everything we know about nutrition and cancer comes from extensive international epidemiological studies – Bonaccio concludes – the novelty of UMBERTO is that it is instead based exclusively on the Italian population and in particular on the database of the Moli-sani study (active for more than 20 years and constantly updated) which contains clinical and behavioral information on more than 25,000 inhabitants of Molise. UMBERTO is one of the first-ever studies of diet and cancer risk based on a Mediterranean population».
The annual event: the award ceremony
Wednesday, May 31 at 11 a.m., at the University of Milanwill host the annual Umberto Veronesi Foundation ceremony dedicated to funding scientific research the award of 160 Italian and foreign doctors and researchers. They intervene, among other things Franco Locatelli and Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, authoritative experts in cutting-edge scientific research. For the year 2023, there are 141 research grants for postdoctoral scientists and 19 training and specialization grants. Added to this number is support for European School of Molecular Medicine, a higher education institution in the biomedical field that welcomes 173 doctoral students, the funding of 16 research projects, 2 international projects, 4 treatment protocols in pediatric oncology and 2 international research and treatment platforms. The three winners of the sixth edition of the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi Award were also awarded: Tommaso Colangelo, Maria Grazia Filippone and Francesco Antonica. On the website of the Foundation, the full list of funded researchers and projects.
I am Barbara Redford, a professional journalist and writer with extensive experience in news reporting. I have been writing for The News Dept since 2019, covering topics related to health and wellness. My passion is to keep people informed about the latest developments in healthcare and the medical industry.