Fasting may improve chemotherapy

18 Posts | Page(s): 1 2  Next 

Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by photog on Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply
Fasting May Improve Cancer Chemotherapy
Temporary Fast Shields Healthy Cells, While Chemo Drugs Target Cancerous Cells, Study Shows
 
By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Fasting prior to cancer chemotherapy treatment may significantly enhance the cancer-killing effects of the drugswhile protecting healthy cells from damage.

A new study suggests starvation induces a protective shield around healthy cells, allowing them to tolerate a much higher dose of chemotherapy.

The results showed starving laboratory mice for two days prior to chemotherapy treatment protected them from potentially toxic high doses of the drug, and they gained back the weight they lost after treatment.

Researchers say cancer chemotherapy can kill as many healthy cells as cancerous ones, but inducing temporary starvation increases the cells' resistance to stress, which may allow doctors to use higher doses of current cancer chemotherapy treatments to make them more effective.

Chemotherapy Starvation Diet

In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers studied the effects of starvation on cancerous and normal cells.

First, they induced a starvation-related response in yeast cells, which made them 1,000 times more protected than untreated cells.

Then, they tested the effects of fasting on human and cancer cells in a test tube and in mice. The results showed starvation produced between a twofold and fivefold difference in stress resistance between the normal, starvation-treated cells and normal cells. In tests with live mice, of 28 mice starved for 48-60 hours before chemotherapy, only 1 died. Of 37 mice that were not starved prior to treatment, 20 mice died from chemotherapy toxicity.

"More importantly, we consistently showed that mice were highly protected while cancer cells remained sensitive," researcher Valter Longo, PhD, of the University of Southern California, says in news release. "If we get to just a 10- to 20-fold differential toxicity with human metastatic cancers, all of a sudden it's a completely different game against cancer."

Researchers say genetic cues prompt starved healthy cells to go into a hibernation-like mode that produces extreme resistance to stress. But cancerous cells don't obey those cues and remain stuck in growth mode.

By using the starvation response to differentiate normal and cancerous cells, researchers say healthy cells may be able to withstand higher doses of existing cancer chemotherapy drugs, but further studies in humans are needed to confirm these effects.

 

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by K_C_1 on Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Good Afternoon Craig;

Very interesting article! I'll tell you this much, if you had found it earlier and I read it prior to my chemo therapy I would have tried a two day fast. What would you have to lose?

Keep the research coming!

Take care;

Kevin

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by photog on Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Hello Kevin,

I wish that I had seen this earlier too for my wife. I've had hints of this via some alternative treatments for cancer which involves fasting. However, in those protocols they could never explain the "why", but now it appears there may be some scientific foundation. It does sound like a promising method.

Take care.

Craig 

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by tongrenhealer on Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply
Very interesting article Craig! My husband responded very well to his chemo regimens, and was one of those esophageal folks who was very nutritionally deficient going into chemo because he couldn't swallow.  Wonder now if that may have helped outcome, since he had essentially been fasting for awhile when first treatment started. You've shared some really interesting things with all of us, so thanks for taking the time.

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by photog on Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Thank you for sharing this valuable experience. It does sound like your husband's decreased nutritional intake may have indeed had a positive effect on his chemo therapy. These anectodal stories really help to support (or in some cases not support) this type of research.

Take care.

Craig 

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by wevebeenthere on Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Dear Craig,

Very interesting information.  Does the article say if fluids were also restricted or just food? 

Thanks,

Jan

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by photog on Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Good question. My wife had the same question. I'm going to see if I can track down the original published research which should give the protocol that was followed. If I find it I'll post it.

Take care.

Craig 

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by poppycath on Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Hi Craig --

I wonder if the reason that I responded so well to Revlimid was the fact that I'd been unable to eat for 3 months due to an extreme side effect reaction to Velcade?  I was even peg fed for a couple of weeks during that time, but eventually I was able to keep some fluids down so the docs let me go home - to die,or so everyone thought, but instead I had this fantastic response to Revlimid going from a paraprotein of 90 down to 8 and gradually getting better over the following months.  Who knows?  But the concept certainly has merit!  I, too, would be interested if you find the original article!!  Many thanks, Cath

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by photog on Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply

Another great anecdotal experience possibly supporting this research. I've tracked down the original research abstract, but now I have to see if I can find the full article electronically through my sources.

Take care.

Craig

P.S. My wife is still on her Velcade treatment protocol. It has worked very well for her (90 to 20 reduction), but it seems to be leveling off and the side effects are mounting. She is starting to think of Revlimid. I can't remember if you also had a transplant before or after your switch to Rev. Can't you let us/me know? Thanks!

RE: Fasting may improve chemotherapy

by poppycath on Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:00 AM

Quote | Reply
Sorry Craig, but I did not have a transplant.  I was told early on in the treatment that because of my side effect reactions to so many drugs that they would not be able to do a transplant on me!  So when I went off the Velcade I was off of all medication for several months.  During that time I read about Revlimid on this site and found a man here in Melbourne who had been on a clinical trial and had responded very favorably.  I approached my oncologist, who had never heard of Revlimid, and he followed it up by going to Celegene who eventually agreed to give it to me as a refractory patient on compassionate grounds!  I have now been on it for about 21 months and am still going strong.  I pray that it continues to work at this level for many more months (dare I hope years) to come!!  Is your wife considering a transplant?  Kevins messages are the best ones out there, but I'm sure that you know this.  I don't know whether I am glad or sad that I can't have a transplant.  There are so many angles to consider, but if you can be like Kevin and go for it in the most positive manner possible then its bound to work!!  Best wishes to you both, Cath
18 Posts | Page(s): 1 2  Next 
Subscribe to this message board discussion

Latest Messages

View More

We care about your feedback. Let us know how we can improve your CancerCompass experience.