A flavorful solution

Florida A&M University professor Ronald D. Thomas, an environmental toxicologist and associate professor in the college of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, has evidence that garlic can prevent cancer.

As a graduate student, through his research on certain fruits and vegetables, Thomas gained an interest in finding ways to lose weight and increase physical performance by consuming certain types of produce. This is when he became interested in garlic and its benefits.

Oneil Newell, 33, a graduate student from Jamaica assisted Thomas with his research.

Although Newell said the brunt of his research was concentrated on the liver, the research project was developed in order to find the benefits of garlic in the prevention of breast cancer.

“If the liver is damaged the rest of the body is highly susceptible to diseases because the detoxification process happens in the liver,” Newell said.

Newell also said he and Thomas have worked with the chemical diallyl sulfide to determine if it can prevent DNA damage, such as DNA strand breaks.

Studies have also shown that diallyl sulfide aids in preventing the formation of carcinogens in the body, Newell added.

Thomas and Newell experimented to determine if diallyl sulfide could prevent DNA from replicating the damaged strands, which lead to the spread of cancer.

Many of Thomas’ colleagues fully support his research and the time he has contributed to this fight against cancer.

Selina Darling-Reid, one of Thomas’ colleagues, said she believes that Thomas’ research will have a huge impact on the scientific community and will help to make significant strides in the fight against breast cancer.

“Professor Thomas truly demonstrates excellence in caring…he spends more time with the students in the lab than he does in his office,” Reid said. “Thomas’ research will shed a positive light on the pharmacy program. His research highlights the excellence that the school is putting out in terms of graduate students and research.”

The probationary status placed upon the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has not stopped Thomas from focusing on his research.

“This will place the pharmacy program in a positive aspect. Even though we have difficulties we just keep on going,” Thomas said.

Thomas expressed excitement about the possibility of receiving grants for his research. As of now, Thomas’ research has earned one grant. He’s presently awaiting the decision on two more, including one from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

With the possibility of grants, the dedication that Thomas has given to his research for over five years will pay off.

With noble intentions, Thomas said that the goal for his research was not money.

“I hope that we will not just find a cure, but a completely preventative agent,” Thomas said.

Nancy Metayer, 20, a sophomore environmental science student from Fort Lauderdale said she is pleased about what Thomas’ research has concluded, but worries about its accuracy.

“I hope his findings are accurate because it will give people with breast cancer hope, I just hope it’s not false hope,” Metayer said. “Hopefully this research can make the chances of fighting breast cancer higher.”