Diet helps treat cancer in mice. Existing evidence shows that diet reduces the risk of diabetes and hypertension. Now, a new study states that it can also help cancer treatment.
The new study features in the journal Nature. The research in mice with cancer discovered that lower consumption of an amino acid found in red meat and eggs improved cancer treatment and slowed tumor growth.
“What this study is showing is that there are many situations where a drug by itself doesn’t work, but if you combine the drug with the diet, it works. Or the radiation therapy doesn’t work well, but if you combine… with the diet, it works well,” said lead researcher Jason Locasale.
The researchers behind the new study focused on limiting the intake of the amino acid methionine, which plays a key role in a process called one-carbon metabolism that promotes cancer cells growth.
Researchers have already shown an association between methionine restriction and both anti-aging and weight loss. They tested mice with colorectal cancer. When they treated mice with a low dose of chemotherapy combined with methionine restriction inhibited tumor growth. They also explained that a combination of methionine restriction and radiation therapy reduced tumor growth.
However, the authors said that this study was based on mice and before drawing any conclusions, human studies are needed to see the effects of dietary restriction on cancer treatment.
“Research like this can lead to studies in people,” said Justin Stebbing, professor of cancer medicine and oncology at Imperial College London.