Diet, by starving the cancer, could increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment

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In a new study published in the journal "Nature," it found that restricting intake of the amino acid methionine, found in red meat and eggs,  significantly enhanced cancer treatment in mice, slowing tumor growth. The amino acid methionine is key to a process called one-carbon metabolism that helps cancer cells grow. 

"These are very strong effects, and they are effects that are as strong as we would see with drugs that work," said lead researcher Jason Locasale, an associate professor at Duke University's School of Medicine. "What this study is showing is that there are many situations where a drug by itself doesn't work, but if you combine the [medicine] with the diet, it works, or the radiation therapy doesn't work well, but if you combine... with the diet, it works well," he told AFP.

The researchers first tested methionine restriction in mice with colorectal cancer and soft tissue sarcomas. They found that a low dose of chemotherapy, which on its own had no effect on colorectal cancer, led to "marked inhibition of tumor growth" when combined with methionine restriction. Similarly, combining methionine restriction with radiation therapy in the case of the soft tissue sarcoma reduced tumour growth.

"Before drawing any conclusions about the potential for dietary restriction as an approach to treating cancer, human studies are needed," said Paul Pharoah, a professor of Cancer Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge.

What do you think of these study results? Have you hear of this before?

How do you use your diet to aid in cancer recovery or treatment? Is this a change in your diet you may incorporate?