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Research at NCIRE

NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD

Scientific Advisor to the Under Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, SFVAHCS
Adjunct Professor of Medicine, UCSF


Diet Intervention in Treatment of Prostate Cancer & Loss of Immune Response in Space

Dr. Hughes-Fulford has published research indicating that human tumors in mice fed diets high in omega-6 fatty acids have increased levels of cox-2 and cPLA2, which are proteins known to be responsible for increased prostate tumor growth. She has published data showing that the omega-6 fatty acids cause faster tumor cell growth and increase growth associated gene expression through a PI3K mechanism. When mice with tumors are fed high omega-6 fatty acid diets, the tumors grow faster.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford was a member of the first dedicated medical mission with NASA, and is the only VA scientist-astronaut. Her research in area of space biology focuses on the physical mechanisms by which the T-cell - an essential component of the immune system - responds to gravity. Dr. Hughes-Fulford identified the genes induced during normal immune response, and has shown that it is highly likely that zero gravity affects these genes in a way that prevents T-cell activation. Such studies will advance understanding of the human immune system in health and disease and give insight into the fundamental biological laws governing Earth's gravity-based life. Dr. Hughes-Fulford also studies bone growth and has received a significant grant to study methods of rapid repair and healing of injured bone.

Read Dr. Hughes-Fulford's article on the VA website, click here.

To see Dr. Hughes-Fulford on Pub Med, click here.