Posted on February 27, 2020

The recent ground breaking findings that antioxidants accelerate cancer progression laid the foundations for a recent seminar organized by the College of Health and Life Sciences (CHLS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).

CHLS invited Professor Martin Bergo from the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) who is one of the lead scientists on one such study—investigating the beneficial roles of antioxidants on cancer progression—as part of their guest lecture seminar series. Prof. Bergo is a permanent member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute and vice-chair of the committee for research. His seminar was titled Redox Regulation of Cancer Metastasis.

Dr Bergo uses mouse genetics as a tool to define the biochemical and medical importance of the posttranslational processing of CAAX proteins, including K-RAS and RHO proteins that are deregulated in many diseases including cancer. Lately, his team stumbled upon an important finding that antioxidants (such as excessive doses of Vitamin E) may accelerate lung cancer and metastasis development in mice. These findings challenge the decades-long understanding that use of antioxidants might be beneficial for cancer patients. Dr Bergo and his team now also focus on the role of oxidative stress, free radicals and antioxidants in health and disease.

Speaking after the seminar, Omar Khan, assistant professor at CHLS, said: “It was a great pleasure to host Prof. Bergo for his talk. The latest data from his lab clearly questions the antioxidants’ long-term utility, particularly for cancer patients. He also suggested that it is perhaps better to eat and live healthy rather than using diet and vitamin supplements. His lecture stimulated a lot of follow up discussions with participants. We are confident that the seminar provided plenty of food-for-thought for our research activities in this field.”

The College of Health and Life Sciences regularly hosts public lectures and seminars that reflect its interdisciplinary projects and research activities. For more information, please visit