Advisory Board

Dr. William B. Grant

The ScienceDaily article Deficiency In Exposure To Sunlight Linked To Endometrial Cancer said

Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and endometrial cancer.
UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D is also available through diet and supplements. Previous studies from this research team have shown associations between higher levels of vitamin D3 and lower risk of cancers of the breast, colon, kidney, and ovary.
Approximately 200,000 cases and 50,000 deaths from endometrial cancer occur annually worldwide, including 41,000 new cases and 7,400 deaths in the United States.

William B. Grant, Ph.D. was an author of this study and is Founding Director, Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, an entity devoted to research, education, and advocacy relating to the prevention of chronic disease through changes in diet and lifestyle.
His primary mission is to identify and quantify risk-modifying factors for chronic diseases. He is particularly interested in UVB and cancer and infectious diseases, but has also studied the role of dietary factors in disease risk.
After an extensive career devoted to developing and applying laser remote sensing systems for the remote measurement of atmospheric trace species, primarily aerosols and ozone with NASA, in the 1990s, William undertook a project for the Sierra Club to determine the effect of acid rain and ozone on eastern hardwood forests. Upon reading that Japanese men in Hawaii had 2.5 times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) than native Japanese, he made the connection between acid rain and AD and increased uptake of aluminum byproducts and humans, and hypothesized that dietary factors played a very important role in the etiology of AD.
He quickly determined that total energy (calories) and total fat were primary risk factors, while fish and cereals/grains were risk reduction factors. This paper was published in Alzheimer’s Disease Review on June 17, 1997. The results were confirmed in 2002 and 2003 in case-control studies.
From this discovery, he quickly set about to study dietary and environmental risks for other diseases including coronary heart disease and cancer. He identified sugar as the primary risk factor for coronary heart disease for women below the age of 65 years.
Such work eventually led to his current primary interest of studying the role of solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) and vitamin D in reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Since he began his work on UVB/vitamin D and cancer in 2000, the list of vitamin D-sensitive cancers has grown from 5 to over 20. His paper in Cancer in 2002 identified 10 additional vitamin D-sensitive cancers. His findings have led to many other vitamin D studies. The scientific consensus it that 1000–4000 I.U. of vitamin D3 per day is indicated to reduce the risk of cancer by 50% and for optimal health in general, with 6000 IU/day recommended for pregnant and nursing women.
More recently, he has turned some attention to the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of diseases linked to viral infections. He was a coauthor on a paper hypothesizing that the annual cycle of influenza is due, in part, to the annual cycle of solar UVB through vitamin D-induction of human cathelicidin, LL-37. This paper was supported by experimental results from a prospective double-blind placebo test shortly thereafter. He is working on the hypothesis that viral infections are an important risk factor for a number of cancers, and that vitamin D can reduce the risk of the infection and the cancer. He has also submitted manuscript showing how vitamin D very likely reduces the risk of septicemia. He has a background in environmental issues, and is examining the roles of air pollution and agricultural herbicides in cancer risk as well.
He is motivated by being able to use his scientific abilities to make important findings regarding human health and seeing his results used by others in their research programs or policy decisions. He is also motivated by the desire to help people realize that being healthy is up to them.
William authored An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the U.S. due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation, and An ecologic study of dietary and solar ultraviolet-B links to breast carcinoma mortality rates, and coauthored The significance of environmental factors in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease, Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal cancer, Validation of the Saharan Dust Plume Conceptual Model Using Lidar, Meteosat, and ECMWF Data, Aerosols from biomass burning over the tropical South Atlantic region: Distributions and impacts, and Use of volcanic aerosols to study the tropical stratospheric reservoir.
William earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. His professional career was devoted to developing and applying laser remote sensing systems for the remote measurement of atmospheric trace species, primarily aerosols and ozone.