Starving Out Cancer

Starving Out Cancer

One development in cancer research involves the development of a process to essentially "starve out" cancer cells. Akin to sieging a city in wartime, this treatment has become popular with doctors for its relatively noninvasive procedures. However, its popularity was accompanied by concerns regarding patients' health, as this treatment would involve decreasing their overall nutrient intake, thus starving the patient as well. Specifically, this treatment has been found to result in damage to tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), one of the immune system's primary mechanisms in combating cancer.

One researcher, Dr. Valter Longo of University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has sought to devise a diet that both destroys cancer cells and funnels nutrients solely to non-cancerous body cells. In 2012, Dr. Longo employed his starvation method in tandem with anticancer drug doxorubicin on mice, receiving generally positive results, as tumors shrank by 4/5 of their size as compared to 1/2 with only drug treatment. In attempting to replicate the experiment in clinical human trials, he realized the risk involved in intentionally starving people. Thus, in order to maximize the method's benefits whilst minimizing its problems, Dr. Longo formulated a new diet rich in vitamin D, zinc, and fatty acids, all of which are integral to TILs' performance. This diet also minimized protein and simple sugars, both of which are readily taken up by cancer cells.

Hopefully, this cutting-edge treatment will be refined in future years for popular use, offering a more natural method of killing cancer.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21702169-how-starve-cancer-without-starving-patient-fast-thinking?frsc=dg%7Cc

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