Combo Of Fasting Plus Vitamin C Is Effective For Hard-To-Treat Cancers, Study Shows

Combo Of Fasting Plus Vitamin C Is Effective For Hard-To-Treat Cancers, Study Shows from Natural Blaze

Scientists from USC and the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan have found that a fasting-mimicking diet could be more effective at treating some types of cancer when combined with vitamin C.

In studies on mice, researchers found that the combination delayed tumor progression in multiple mouse models of colorectal cancer; in some mice, it caused disease regression. The results were published in the journal Nature Communications.

“For the first time, we have demonstrated how a completely non-toxic intervention can effectively treat an aggressive cancer,” said Valter Longo, the study senior author and the director of the USC Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “We have taken two treatments that are studied extensively as interventions to delay aging– a fasting-mimicking diet and vitamin C — and combined them as a powerful treatment for cancer.”

The researchers said that while fasting remains a challenging option for cancer patients, a safer, more feasible option is a low-calorie, plant-based diet that causes cells to respond as if the body were fasting. Their findings suggest that a low-toxicity treatment of fasting-mimicking diet plus vitamin C has the potential to replace more toxic treatments.

Results of prior research on the cancer-fighting potential of vitamin C have been mixed. Recent studies, though, are beginning to show some efficacy, especially in combination with chemotherapy. In this new study, the research team wanted to find out whether a fasting-mimicking diet could enhance the high-dose vitamin C tumor-fighting action by creating an environment that would be unsustainable for cancer cells but still safe for normal cells.

“Our first in vitro experiment showed remarkable effects,” said Longo. “When used alone, fasting-mimicking diet or vitamin C alone reduced cancer cell growth and caused a minor increase in cancer cell death. But when used together, they had a dramatic effect, killing almost all cancerous cells.”

Longo and his colleagues detected this strong effect only in cancer cells that had a mutation that is regarded as one of the most challenging targets in cancer research. These mutations in the KRAS gene signal the body is resisting most cancer-fighting treatments, and they reduce a patient’s survival rate. KRAS mutations occur in approximately a quarter of all human cancers and are estimated to occur in up to half of all colorectal cancers.

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