A new study by researchers at University of Southern California (USC) for the first time demonstrated that fasting increases the effectiveness of radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer, prolonging the life expectancy of mice with aggressive brain tumors.
Previous works of professor of gerontology and biology of USC Walter Longo, have shown that short periods of fasting protects healthy cells at the same time making cancer cells more vulnerable to the ravages of chemotherapy.
This new study is the first, during which failed to demonstrate that periods of starvation have the same positive effect in the treatment of radiation therapy of gliomas - the most common types of brain tumors. The average lifetime of the diagnosis of "glioma" is less than two years.
"Our previous studies in the field of chemotherapy, were sent to search the protection of patients from toxicity. And in the current study of radiation, we looked for a means of allowing the cancer to make it easier to cure. How to create favorable conditions for the smallest cancer?" - Said Longo.
Longo and his colleagues began exploring the combination of fasting with radiation therapy with a drug called temozolomide, the standard is indicated for the treatment of brain tumors in adults after surgical removal attempts.
They found that a short period of fasting mice, no more than 48 hours at a time, improved efficiency of radio-and chemotherapy in the treatment of gliomas. Despite a very aggressive growth they are studying brain tumors, the number of survivors has doubled among fasted mice and irradiated by radiation, compared with the group receiving radiation therapy alone or with a group of just starving.
"The results confirm the positive role of the fast treatment for glioma, compared with conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy" - researchers report. They came to the conclusion that fasting can be of great help in the treatment of brain tumors in humans.
Longo said, "If you have no choice, that short periods of fasting can be your saving straw."