NIH Awards $4 Million to Continue Landmark Study Linking Vitamin D to Reduced Cancer Risk

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded Omaha-based Creighton University $4 million to continue its landmark study linking Vitamin D to a reduction in cancer risk.

The study’s findings, reported in June 2007, showed for the first time in a clinical trial that postmenopausal women consuming optimal amounts of calcium supplements as well as vitamin D3 supplements at nearly three times U.S. government recommended levels could reduce their risk of cancer by 60 – 77 percent. [“Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: Results of a randomized trial” – full text free.]

“The vitamin D3 finding was a secondary goal in the original study,” said Creighton researcher Joan Lappe, PhD. “We must now confirm these findings with a clinical trial specifically designed to look at calcium, vitamin D and cancer. Confirmation is necessary in order to have evidence solid enough to change public policy regarding intake levels for vitamin D.”

Dr. Lappe, holder of the Dr. CC and Mabel L Criss and Drs. Gilbert and Clinton Beirne Endowed Chair in Nursing at Creighton and a professor of medicine, was the principal investigator for the landmark study. She will also head the new study.

As with the first study, healthy, postmenopausal women from nine Nebraska counties – Douglas, Sarpy, Washington, Burt, Colfax, Cuming, Dodge, Saunders, and Butler – will be selected randomly through phone calls, beginning in February.

A total of 2,300 women will be recruited and followed for four years with half of the participants randomly assigned to take daily supplements containing 2000 IU of Vitamin D-3 and 1200 mg of calcium; the second group will get placebos.
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Source: Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska) news release Jan 26, 2009 (www.creighton.edu)

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