Monday, August 20, 2018
News Roundup

Chemo treats cancer better with fasting, paper finds

The history of cancer treatment includes a long list of quack diets claiming patients can eat their way back to good health, but one approach, which involves eating less and minimizing carbohydrates, appears to produce genuine benefits.

For the past decade, Dr. Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute of the University of Southern California, has been studying the effects of calorie restriction on diseases associated with aging, including cancer.

In a paper recently published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, Longo and his colleagues report that periodic fasting in mice helped reduce the immune system decline caused by chemotherapy and aging.

The researchers also analyzed data from a clinical trial involving human cancer patients and found that those who fasted for 72 hours when receiving chemotherapy showed normal numbers of the white blood cells needed to maintain robust functioning of the immune system.

Three clinical trials are being done at USC's Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center to test the effect of periodic fasting. In one trial, cancer patients are divided into groups and follow various fasting regimens. Some patients, for example, fast for two days before chemo, and one day after, while others fast for four days but are allowed a few hundred calories a day of soups and other low-carb foods.

"That's much easier for patients to do," Longo said.

The goal is to put the patients in a ketogenic state in which the body burns fat rather than carbohydrates and sugar. "It's not what people refer to as a ketogenic diet, which is based on eating either a high-fat or a high-fat, high-protein diet," Longo said. "We've done that and it just doesn't work. This is a low-protein, low-carb diet."

Patients who fast still experience a drop in white blood cells after chemotherapy, but the cells rebound quickly when the patients start to eat again, according to the Cell Stem Cell paper.

In other research, Longo and his colleagues have demonstrated that fasting cycles are as effective as chemotherapy at slowing cancer progression in mice. "The fasting made the chemo work better," Longo said. "With chemo alone, you almost never get a cure, and with fasting alone, you almost never get a cure, but with chemo plus fasting, 20 to 60 percent of the animals become cancer free. I think the potential is there to do the same for people"

Longo cautions cancer patients against trying to fast on their own. "When people improvise, they tend to do things that could hurt them," he said. "People can have a major drop in blood pressure and glucose levels. If they are diabetic and insulin dependent, they could die."

Also, fasting causes weight loss, which can weaken cancer patients.

Nevertheless, his recent work suggests that cancer patients might benefit from fasting before and after chemotherapy because of the beneficial changes in metabolism that take place in the body when faced with a shortage of food.

"This effect, which may have evolved to reduce energy expenditure during periods of starvation," Longo said, "is able to switch stem cells to a mode in which they not only regenerate immune cells and reverse the immunosuppression caused by chemotherapy, but also rejuvenate the immune system of old mice."

Tom Valeo writes on health matters. Email him at [email protected]

Comments
The Daystarter: Spanish relic may be clue in death; the latest on ‘Zombie Campaigns’; Barber’s quest to be Bucs’ starting QB

The Daystarter: Spanish relic may be clue in death; the latest on ‘Zombie Campaigns’; Barber’s quest to be Bucs’ starting QB

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• We’ll be partly sunny with scattered showers and thunderstorms developing, mainly in the afternoon and early evening, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures will...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ernest Hooper: Sometimes you gotta take inventory

Ernest Hooper: Sometimes you gotta take inventory

Random thoughts, because sometimes you gotta take inventory.I like Kelly Clarkson, but she’s no Aretha.Tax cuts? Overrated.Vote. Stop making excuses.To earn a man’s support, you must acknowledge his pain.The older I get, the more I love baseball.Sly ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
400 years later, Spanish coin is clue in mysterious death

400 years later, Spanish coin is clue in mysterious death

Before detectives found it inside a car in Colorado, before a St. Petersburg surveillance camera captured it hanging from Christie New’s neck hours before she was gravely wounded, before it was salvaged from the bottom of the ocean, police believe th...
Published: 08/20/18
Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

Florida State football getting closer to naming starting quarterback, Willie Taggart says

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Willie Taggart isn't ready to announce who will start at quarterback when the Seminoles open against Virginia Tech in two weeks.But a decision is getting closer."How close? Closer than we were the first da...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

BOSTON — Sergio Romo tries — though not always successfully — to keep his emotions in check on the mound. You kind of have to in logging 100 career saves, the milestone he reached in Sunday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox.But walking int...
Updated: 8 hours ago
DeCalon Brooks ready to make a name for himself at Florida State

DeCalon Brooks ready to make a name for himself at Florida State

TALLAHASSEE — DeCalon Brooks doesn't only want to be known as Derrick Brooks' son.Yes, he plays the same position (linebacker) at the same school (Florida State) where his father won a national title in 1993 before becoming a Bucs legend a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

TAMPA – Ask Peyton Barber his approach to training camp or preseason games, and his answer is meant to bull over the questioner as if it's all that's standing between him and the goal line."I think the end-all goal for me is to be the star...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Jalen Beeks shines for Rays in winning return to Boston

Jalen Beeks shines for Rays in winning return to Boston

BOSTON — Jalen Beeks called it a complicated question.Then he gave a convoluted answer.Just what, he was asked after leading the Rays to a 2-0 win Sunday over the Red Sox, did it mean to come back to Fenway Park for the first time and beat...
Updated: 11 hours ago
North Carolina fugitives, charged with shooting at cops, found and arrested in Treasure Island

North Carolina fugitives, charged with shooting at cops, found and arrested in Treasure Island

TREASURE ISLAND — Two men on the run from law enforcement in North Carolina were found hiding in Treasure Island — armed with an AR-15, a machete and a pipe bomb, deputies said — leading to a standoff with a SWAT team that ended early Sunday morning....
Updated: 12 hours ago
Tampa holds a birthday vigil for Lillia Raubenolt, the young girl killed on Bayshore

Tampa holds a birthday vigil for Lillia Raubenolt, the young girl killed on Bayshore

Somewhere Over the Rainbow was the first song Lillia Raubenolt’s parents sang to her as a newborn, according to her uncle, John Reisinger."They were just so happy when she was born," he said.But on May 23, while the family was visiting Tampa from Ohi...
Published: 08/19/18