He also tested normal brain cells and cancerous cells in test tubes and found that the normal cells that were denied normal levels of glucose were protected against several forms of chemotherapy while the cancerous cells were not.
In a third experiment on mice that were starved for 48 hours before chemotherapy, Longo says, "The animals were running around after at least a three-fold higher dose than the maximum…allowed for patients."
However, Longo agrees this research is just the first step, noting that since , "A lot of the cancer patients come in already with weight loss, the starvation is not exactly something that they (doctors) would prefer."
|image: National Cancer Institute|
So he is now researching something, "that can do something … almost as powerful without the starvation." adding that, a drug that mimics the starvation, "would be ideal."
Additionally, he's looking at diet changes short of starvation that might provide the same edge. He notes that, "Just a few changes, very specific changes in the diet and all of a sudden at least the animals in our case are now very resistant again to very high doses of chemo."
Either way, the research on diet is providing new food for thought in our ongoing war against cancer.
This work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early edition for the week of March 31, 2005 and was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, and a University of Southern California Norris Cancer Center pilot grant.