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Michael Milken.

"I was highly motivated to change my diet because I believed it could mean the difference between life and death," wrote Michael Milken in The Taste for Living Cookbook. In 1993 when diagnosed with advanced cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes, Milken tackled the dire prognosis with the same energy and enthusiasm that he exercised on Wall Street. He obtained the best medical and surgical help available and pored over the latest prostate cancer research. He then switched from high-fat fare to low-fat cuisine, emphasizing antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly tomatoes rich in lycopene--one of the strongest antioxidants found in nature (see tomato recipes on page 30).

After beating cancer, he shook up the world of prostate cancer research. During treatment, Milken discovered that while millions of research dollars were committed to breast cancer and other diseases, little funding was allocated to prostate cancer, even though it is the leading cause of cancer in men. With no funding, few investigators entered the field.

With no one entering the field, little research was under way. To remedy the situation, Milken began pulling every lever at his disposal, initially putting up personal funds to attract investigators to enter the field and apply for research grants. With more grants, the NIH needed more professionals to review proposals, leading to significantly greater government funding. The strategy worked in record time! Thirteen years later, Milken's tireless efforts have made an incredible difference in the lives of men with prostate cancer.

"Michael has made a major impact through his fundraising efforts and support, especially of young people with new ideas," says Patrick Walsh, M.D., pioneer of the nerve-sparing prostatectomy procedure and one of the country's leading experts on the disease (see Dr. Walsh interview on page 40).

Milken's latest initiative, "Faster-Cures: Patients Helping Doctors," is further accelerating medical progress.

"The program highlights the crucial role individual patients play in the search for cures by releasing their medical records, donating tissue samples, and participating in clinical trials," says Milken. "For the first time in history, we hold the potential of eliminating cancer's burden. It will take a monumental effort, but the rewards will benefit all future generations."
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Title Annotation:Post People
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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