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Fasting counterfeits high blood sugar levels in chemotherapy

Short-term fasting protects healthy cells from cancer fighting drugs


Key points from article :

Researchers treated mice with the drug doxorubicin alone or in combination with either dexamethasone or rapamycin.

The mice who received a drug combination showed worse side effects from the chemotherapy, including greater damage to cells in the heart, than the mice who received doxorubicin alone.

"This combination could also make patients more sensitive to chemotherapy” - Longo, Lead author.

Healthy cells’ increased vulnerability was caused by increased blood sugar.

To counteract, some of the mice periodically underwent fasting or a low-calorie diet.

The mice that had fasted or eaten the fasting-mimicking diet showed less damage to healthy heart cells.

The key in the fasting mice may be a genetic signaling pathway called PKA/EGR1 that regulates cellular protection and aging.

"Increased risk of complicated infections and overall mortality, should discourage physicians from recommending combination drugs that promote hyperglycemia" - Longo.

Research published in journal PLoS Biology.

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PLOS Biology

Journal providing information from all aspects of biology.

Valter Longo

Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences; Edna M. Jones Chair in Gerontology at USC Leonard Davis

Topics mentioned on this page:
Cancer, Intermittent Fasting (IF)