Celebrated Cornell professor T. Colin Campbell discusses his decades of NIH-funded research which show that meat and dairy promote cancer growth and a plant-based (vegan) diet can prevent and even reverse cancer.
T. Colin Campbell is an American biochemist who specializes in the effects of nutrition on long-term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, the author of over 300 research papers, and the co-author of The China Study (2004), one of America's best-selling books about nutrition. He also starred in the 2011 American documentary, Forks Over Knives.
Campbell was one of the lead scientists in the 1980s of the China-Oxford--Cornell study on diet and disease, set up in 1983 by Cornell University, the University of Oxford, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine to explore the relationship between nutrition and cancer, heart and metabolic diseases. The study was described by The New York Times as "the Grand Prix of epidemiology."
Campbell grew up on a dairy farm. He studied pre-veterinary medicine at Pennsylvania State University, where he obtained his B.S. in 1956, then attended veterinary school at the University of Georgia for a year. He completed his M.S. in nutrition and biochemistry at Cornell in 1958, where he studied under Clive McCay (known for his research on nutrition and aging), and his Ph.D. in nutrition, biochemistry, and microbiology in 1961, also at Cornell.
Campbell has followed a 99 percent vegan diet since around 1990. He does not identify himself as a vegetarian or vegan. He told an interviewer in 2007:
"I never intended to seek out evidence to support vegetarianism or veganism because of any preconceived ideas or experiences. Indeed, I tend not to use the 'V' words because they often infer something other than what I espouse."
Campbell joined MIT as a research associate, then worked for 10 years in the Virginia Tech Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, before returning to Cornell in 1975 to join its Division of Nutritional Sciences. He has worked as a senior science adviser to the American Institute for Cancer Research, and sits on the advisory board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He is known in particular for research, derived in part from the China Project, that appears to link the consumption of animal protein with the development of cancer and heart disease; he argues that casein, a protein found in milk from mammals, is "the most significant carcinogen we consume."
He has been a member since 1978 of several United States National Academy of Sciences expert panels on food safety, and holds an honorary professorship at the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.