A controversial form of oxygen therapy, combined with a restrictive diet, has been found to combat cancer in laboratory mice and increase their survival time.
The study, by a University of South Florida research team, suggests combining a high-fat ketogenic diet dietary and hyperbaric oxygen therapies may help boost cancer survival of some patients with aggressive metastatic cancer.
"Our study demonstrates the potential of these cost-effective, nontoxic therapies to contribute to current cancer treatment regimens and significantly improve the outcome of patients with advanced metastatic cancer," said lead researcher Dominic D'Agostino, with the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing 100 percent oxygen at elevated barometric pressure.
Both the ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are non-toxic and may even protect healthy tissues while simultaneously damaging cancer cells, D'Agostino said.
For the new study, mice with advanced cancer that had spread throughout their bodies were fed either a standard high-carbohydrate diet or a ketogenic diet. Mice on both diets also received hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which uses a special chamber to increase the amount of oxygen in the tissues.
While both therapies slowed the cancer’s spread, the mice receiving the combined ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen therapy lived 78 percent longer than those fed a standard high-carbohydrate diet.
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