Fasting found to reduce chemo side-effects!
Making chemotherapy more selective is very important. Doctors could control the spread of
cancers much better. But now, an alternative method by making normal cell tougher is
suggested.

A few days of fasting might help protect patients from some of the unpleasant and dangerous
side-effects of cancer chemotherapy.

Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California found confirmed normal human cells
were two to five times more resistant than cancer cells to chemotherapy after a short period of
starvation in test-tube experiments.

Later, they demonstrated mice given a high dose of chemotherapy after fasting thrived while
half of a group of well-fed mice died.

They said animals fed a low-calorie diet live longer, in part because their cells can resist stress
better. They also noticed that starved cells go into a kind of hibernation mode, while cancer
cells form tumors because they lack an "off" position, growing uncontrollably.

Longo wondered if the starvation response might be a way to differentiate healthy cells from
cancer cells. One reason chemotherapy causes side-effects is that it affects all active and
growing cells -- tumors, but also hair follicles, the lining of the intestines and other cells.

They administered an unusually high dose of etoposide (80 mg/kg) to ... mice that had been
starved for 48 hours. The high dose killed 43 percent of the mice that were fed normally but
just one starved mouse. The starved mice regained their lost weight within four days.

Dr. Longo is planning a pilot clinical study on cancer patients to see if fasting can make
chemotherapy more effective at  the university's Norris Cancer Centre within six months.

[1] Fasting found to reduce chemo side-effects Reuters April 1, 2008.  [2] Fasting could help
fight cancer Telegraph March 31 2008
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