Controlled diet can slow cancer growth

Controlled diet can slow cancer growth

Cancer Research UK suggest that a controlled amino acid-restrictive diet can be used as an additional treatment for some cancer patients.

Research discovered that the removal of two non-essential amino acids, serine and glycine, from the diet of mice led to a slowing down in the growth of tumours.

The study was carried out by the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and the University of Glasgow is published in Nature.

The researchers found that, mice fed a diet without serine and glycine, the development of lymphoma and intestinal cancer slowed.

Amino acids are the base of proteins, however the authors of the study warn against cutting protein out of the diet completely.

“Our diet is complex, and protein – the main source of all amino acids – is vital for our health and well-being. This means that patients cannot safely cut out these specific amino acids simply by following some form of home-made diet,” says Prof Karen Vousden, the study co-author and Cancer Research UK’s chief scientist.

“This kind of restricted diet would be a short-term measure and must be carefully controlled and monitored by doctors for safety.”

Clinical trials are seen as the next step in order to see whether this diet would be safe for humans, and the ensure the decrease in the rate of tumour growth carries over to humans.

Research will also need to work out which patients are likely to benefit as they found the diet was less effective in tumours with an activated Kras gene, which is seen in most pancreatic cancers.

Prof Vousden told the BBC News website the diet would be a “fairly safe and gentle way to supplement conventional therapies, that means you don’t have to take yet more drugs”.

Related Articles