The ketogenic diet might help in cancer therapy.
In recent years, scientists have been testing a new class of cancer drugs.
They target a specific molecular pathway that has been shown to be faulty in many types of cancer.
Specifically, these drugs target a cell signaling pathway called phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K), which is activated by insulin.
Previous studies have shown that mutations in this kinase, or enzyme, are present in most tumors.
So, in an attempt to inhibit this pathway, over 50 drugs have been developed, with several clinical trials testing their efficacy.
Thus far, however, the results of these trials have been disappointing; for the most part, the drugs’ efficacy is hit-or-miss, or their toxicity is too high.
Taking these drugs often leads to hyperglycemia, or abnormally high levels of blood sugar. This occurs because inhibiting the pathway causes the insulin to drop, which increases blood sugar levels.
When the pancreas is unable to make up for the loss by producing more insulin, patients have to stop taking the drugs. Now, however, researchers led by Benjamin D. Hopkins, a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, NY, may have found a way around this problem.
The “trendy” ketogenic diet — a diet high in fats but very low in carbs — may be the best way to boost the efficacy of these new-generation therapies and avoid their side effects.
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