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Can a special diet improve cancer treatment?
Researchers have now found that a so-called ketogenic diet appears to eliminate the side effects of a new generation of cancer drugs. This could help improve the treatment of cancer patients.
Scientists at the Meyer Cancer Center found in their current investigation that the keto diet can eliminate the side effects of a new class of cancer drugs. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Nature".
New cancer drugs target a specific molecular pathway
In recent years, scientists have been testing a new class of cancer drugs. These target a specific molecular path that has proven to be faulty in many types of cancer. In particular, 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.
New drugs so far with strong side effects
In an attempt to inhibit this route, a total of over 50 drugs were developed, with several clinical trials testing their effectiveness, the experts say. So far, however, the results of these attempts have been relatively disappointing. In most cases, the medication's effectiveness was low or its toxicity too high.
Taking medication often leads to hyperglycemia
Taking these drugs often leads to hyperglycaemia or abnormally high blood sugar. This happens because the inhibition of the pathway causes the insulin to drop, which increases blood sugar levels, the scientists explain. If the pancreas is unable to make up for the loss by producing more insulin, patients must stop taking the medication. The new study may have found a way to work around this problem.
Keto diet improves effectiveness of new generation of therapies
The keto diet is currently very trendy. It includes a high-fat diet, but very little carbohydrates. A ketogenic diet could be the best way to increase the effectiveness of this new generation of therapies and avoid their side effects, the study authors explain. (as)