Boston College biologists have identified an alternative, diet-based method of treating brain cancer that does not involve administering toxic chemicals, radiation or invasive surgery.
The biologists found that KetoCal, a commercially available high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet designed to treat epilepsy in children, can significantly decrease the growth of brain tumors in laboratory mice. Moreover, the diet significantly enhanced health and survival rates relative to mice in control groups who consumed a standard low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
The findings were based on a study published this week in the online journal Nutrition & Metabolism.
“KetoCal represents a novel alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer,” said Boston College Biology Professor Tom Seyfried, who conceived and supervised the study. “While the tumors did not vanish in the mice who received the strict KetoCal diet, they got significantly smaller and the animals lived significantly longer. And compared to radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, KetoCal is a relatively inexpensive treatment option.”
Malignant brain cancer is one of the most lethal types of cancer in adults and is the second leading cause of cancer death in children. Many current ways of treating the disease fail to provide long-term management because they ineffectively target tumor cells and harm the health and vitality of normal brain cells.
The KetoCal diet gets around this dilemma by essentially starving the brain tumor cells of the sugary molecules on which they rely for growth and survival. Because of its special composition, the diet deprives the tumor cells of the glucose they need; at the same time, the diet provides normal brain cells with ketones, a class of organic compounds they can metabolize effectively but the tumor cells cannot.
In their experiment, the BC team surgically implanted two different kinds of tumors into the brains of male mice. The mice were then divided into three groups. One group was fed a high-carbohydrate mouse chow, one was given unlimited amounts of KetoCal, and the final group was given KetoCal in a restricted dosage.
The researchers found that in the mice on the restricted diet, KetoCal decreased the growth of brain tumors by between 35 percent and 65 percent. Moreover, survival rates were higher in the mice on the restricted diet.
“This preclinical study indicates that KetoCal is a safe and effective diet therapy and should be considered as an alternative therapeutic option for malignant brain cancer,” the researchers wrote.
KetoCal is manufactured by Nutricia North America. The study authors report they have no financial interests in the company, although it did provide the KetoCal used in the experiments as a gift.
The journal article’s lead author is Weihua Zhou, a research technician in the Boston College Biology Department. Co-authors include Seyfried, Purna Mukherjee, Michael Kiebish, William Markis and John Mantis.
Greg Frost | EurekAlert!
A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich
New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine