Reducing amino acids in diet can help treat cancer
Reducing amino acids in diet can help treat cancer
Credit CC0 Public Domain
21 Abril, 2017, 00:39
SCOTS scientists have discovered that cutting out certain acids from the diet of mice can slow tumour growth and prolong survival, a development that could lead to clinical trials with cancer patients.
By working with genetically engineered mouse models of intestinal cancer (driven by Apc inactivation) or lymphoma (driven by Myc activation), the Cancer Research UK scientists hoped to extend diet therapy research to "more clinically relevant autochthonous tumors".
As chemo- and radiotherapy boost the levels of such reactive oxygen species, this also suggests that a diet depleted of these amino acids could make conventional cancer treatments more effective.
Professor Karen Vousden, Cancer Research UK's chief scientist and study co-author, said: "This kind of restricted diet would be a short-term measure and must be carefully controlled and monitored by doctors for safety". Our diet is complex and protein - the main source of all amino acids - is vital for our health and well-being.
She said the next step was to do clinical trials to see if a specialised diet without these amino acids was safe and helped slow tumour growth like it did in mice.
The study also found that the diet was less effective in tumors with an activated Krasgene, such as pancreatic cancer.
Researchers said this could help to select which tumours could be best targeted by diet therapy.
Amino acids make up the building blocks of our proteins and are vital to cellular biosynthesis.
The researchers acknowledged that devising a diet without these two amino acids would be quite hard and they would test it on healthy people first to see how tolerable it was and "how easy it was to stick to and how it affects our levels of the two amino acids".
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.
Speaking to NutraIngredients, Dr Emma Smith, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "I think this can be a really interesting angle".
"We'd also need to work out which patients are most likely to benefit, depending on the characteristics of their cancer".
Cancer Research UK - which has been at the heart of the progress that has seen survival rates double in the last 40 years - wants to accelerate progress so that by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least a decade.
Additional details appeared April 19 in the journal Nature, in an article entitled "Modulating the Therapeutic Response of Tumours to Dietary Serine and Glycine Starvation".
This research was funded by Cancer Research UK and the European Research Council.
The charity spent more than £33 million in Scotland a year ago on some of the UK's leading scientific and clinical research.
Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years.
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