The University will host a primary prevention research symposium this week as part of the Purdue-led International Breast Cancer and Nutrition Project.

The third annual symposium, happening from Wednesday until Friday, is titled “Models for Breast Cancer Prevention: From Innovation to Action.”

Sophie Lelièvre is an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and associate director of Discovery Groups for the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. Lelièvre said the symposium is unique because of the wide variety of disciplines and countries that participate. All of the different disciplines will combine ideas about primary prevention care for breast cancer, which is aimed at preventing the cancer before it develops.

“A lot of disciplines are represented,” Lelièvre said. “Not only medicines and biology, but also nutrition, communication, people in health law, anthropology and economics.”

Unlike areas already studied within the breast cancer field, such as treatment and early detection, Lelièvre said the difference with the symposium is it focuses on the primary prevention of breast cancer.

“It’s an understudied area in medicine,” she said. “So, here, we want to develop a community of scientists, medical doctors and public health experts who are focusing on this primary prevention research.”

Experts will be featured in topics related to this type of research from six countries: the United States, France, Ghana, Lebanon, Uruguay and Japan. There will also be researchers attending from places such as Canada, Chile, the Netherlands, Qatar and other countries.

The inaugural symposium was held at Purdue two years ago. Last year the symposium was hosted by France and now it’s back at Purdue. It will continue to switch countries every other year and be hosted by Purdue in the year between.

Ellen Gruenbaum, department head of anthropology, said the symposium is a way to stay updated on breast cancer work in other countries.

“It’s about building networks,” Gruenbaum said. “People we met in Uruguay and in France last year will be presenting papers here this year – that helps to deepen knowledge of each other’s work, strengthen ties and promote future collaborative efforts in this project.”

Gruenbaum added the importance of building such networks because of how challenging the topic of primary prevention of breast cancer is.

Lelièvre said at this year’s symposium at least 10 different countries will be represented and around 125 participants are set to attend. Registration for the event is now closed.

“At the heart of any advancement in medical research is a better understanding of how a disease starts and grows,” Lelièvre said in a recent Purdue news release. “Discussing models necessary for research on primary prevention and implantation of the results is an essential tool to help researchers from many different disciplines in that understanding.”

All of the events will be in the Stewart Center. The first session of the symposium will go from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. The symposium will end with a session from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Friday.