It's possible that one woman's high fat diet during pregnancy can increase the risk of breast cancer forseveral generations. ECE associate professor Jason Xuan and ECE professor Yue ( Joseph) Wang will be researching this possibility as part of a collaboration led by Georgetown University. The project is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Virginia Tech's share is $400,000 over four years.
A high-fat diet during pregnancy increases ethinyl estradiol (EE2) levels, which has been linked toincreased risk of breast cancer in daughters, grand-daughters and great-granddaughters. This study investigates the risk of breast cancer in mice for four generations following the exposure of the original female to a high-fat diet.
The team will also test their hypothesis that this increased risk of breast cancer is caused by changesin DNA methylation. This is a normal part of DNA development, but changes in this process could have an impact that persists for generations.