Thursday, November 15, 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
Enjoy College GameDay, UCF. This is as good as it should get

Enjoy College GameDay, UCF. This is as good as it should get

ESPN's College GameDay is going to UCF this weekend.Great. Now the most delusional college football fan base in the country will become completely insufferable.Well, good for you UCF. You can hold up signs. You can boo Kirk Herbstreit. You can cheer ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

LHP Blake Snell accomplished a lot in his remarkable 2018 breakout season. And wining the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday added to that list:* He became the second Ray win the most prestigious pitching award, joining David Price, who did ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Five fresh takes on green beans beyond the casserole for Thanksgiving

Five fresh takes on green beans beyond the casserole for Thanksgiving

We love a green bean casserole, but these green bean recipes are worth a spot on the table, too.
Published: 11/15/18
Times baseball writer Marc Topkin talks about ‘Twenty Years of Rays Baseball’ book

Times baseball writer Marc Topkin talks about ‘Twenty Years of Rays Baseball’ book

Covering the team long before it played its first game gave him the background to become the Rays’ historian.
Published: 11/15/18
Disney unveils plans for ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ coaster, high-tech robots

Disney unveils plans for ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ coaster, high-tech robots

At an amusement park industry trade show, a Disney executive hails the next generation of animatronics.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Stop blaming the play-caller. Dirk Koetter wasnít the reason why Tampa Bay scored only three points.
Updated: 7 hours ago
That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

Model/actress Kate Upton had plenty to say in 2016 when then fiance Justin Verlander missed out on winning the AL Cy Young award due in part to the votes of the two Tampa Bay writers, posting an extraordinarily profane, and extremely memorable, tweet...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell first started thinking about it at the end of last season, then more as spring training drew near. He shared first with teammate Chris Archer on the phone, then later with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder over a Janu...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Softball stars Callie Turner, Alexis Kilfoyl sign together

Softball stars Callie Turner, Alexis Kilfoyl sign together

Alexis Kilfoyl was set to have the spotlight all to herself when she signed with Alabama on Wednesday.The Academy at the Lakes senior, one of the top softball pitchers in the nation, planned on being the only one to deliver a speech in the school's g...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

The incident took place in the 30600 block of Tremont Drive. The boy was reported to in critical condition.
Updated: 8 hours ago