Tags: fasting | cancer | therapy | radiation | brain

Fasting Boosts Cancer Therapy

Monday, 17 September 2012 10:15 AM

Brain cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy may be able to boost the effectiveness of their treatment – along with their survival odds – simply by fasting ahead of time, according to a new University of Southern California study of mice.
The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS One, indicates fasting makes brain tumors more vulnerable to radiation – particularly in cases of aggressive cancer.
The findings build on previous research – led by Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the USC Davis School of Gerontology – that found short-term fasting protects healthy cells while leaving cancer cells vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
The latest study is the first to show that controlled fasting appears to have the same effect on radiation therapy in treating gliomas, the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor, which usually results in death within two years of diagnosis.
"With our initial research on chemotherapy, we looked at how to protect patients against toxicity,” said Longo. “With this research on radiation, we're asking, what are the conditions that make cancer most susceptible to treatment? How can we replicate the conditions that are least hospitable to cancer?
"The results demonstrate the beneficial role of fasting in gliomas and their treatment with standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy."
For the study, Longo and his colleagues found fasting in mice – for up to two days before treatment – improved the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy in treating brain tumors. More than twice as many mice who fasted and received radiation therapy survived to the end of the trial period than survived with radiation alone or fasting alone.
Longo cautions that patients should consult with their oncologist before undertaking any fasting.
"You want to balance the risks,” he said. “You have to do it right. But if the conditions are such that you've run out of options, short-term fasting may represent an important possibility for patients."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Aging of the National Institute of Health.

© HealthDay

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Brain cancer patients who fast while undergoing radiation therapy can boost the effectiveness of their treatment.
Monday, 17 September 2012 10:15 AM
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