Doctors look for ways to engineer foods to fight cancer

We eat foods everyday that are engineered to make us healthier.

From cereals with vitamins to sports drinks that replenish our bodies with proteins.

But what if you could eat an apple that was specifically designed to stop cancer? It's an idea that may not be far off.

Cheryl Creech says her battle with breast cancer has changed her perspective on many things, including her diet.

Instead of doing what's easy at mealtime, Cheryl now does what's best. "The proper way to cook, what to eat, what not to eat. Just different recipes, doing things to try to keep your meals interesting."

To do that, Cheryl often eats foods from this garden, one planted and maintained by cancer patients just like her.

It was an idea cultivated by Dr. Steven Clinton of Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital.

He says these two acres yield just as many life lessons as fresh foods.  

"That experience with cancer can be turned into a very teachable moment. It's a time where folks really do re-evaluate their lifestyle, their diet, nutrition."

Hoping to capitalize on that teachable moment, Dr. Clinton is using this garden to stress to cancer patients the importance of fruits and vegetables.

And if he has his way, these foods will soon be engineered to become highly-concentrated cancer fighters.

Dr. Clinton says, "We want to create the fruit or vegetable that has the most possible anti-cancer activity."

So, Dr. Clinton is working with food scientists at Ohio State to cross-breed foods with potent nutrients.

Like tomatoes with extra lycopene, to help fight prostate cancer or super-charged black raspberries, which have been shown to fight oral and colon cancers.

The idea is to take the best of what grows here and make it even more potent here.

Researchers say it may be a few years before they perfect a cancer-fighting variety of some of these foods.

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