cancer – prevention vs. treatment

I thought I would share an interesting presentation by Craig Thompson, President and CEO of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  If you have 30 minutes to spare, it is worth a look. For some time now, we have known that tumors have a much higher glucose demand than healthy tissues. However, this fact rarely translates into dietary advice. The hypothesis is that if tumor needs glucose, then consuming a diet that is low in carbohydrate will effectively starve the tumor and result in necrosis. A diet that contains a higher proportion of calories from fat would in principle be less oncogenic.  Thompson acknowledges in the Q&A that current dietary advice would argue against a high fat diet due to the focus on “heart-healthy” diets, but that we need to balance that against the desire to prevent cancer – waiting to treat the disease is clearly not good enough. It is unfortunate that he doesn’t discuss the fact that the demonization of cholesterol and fat is probably misguided. Nonetheless, there are also some interesting ideas out there on using a low carbohydrate dietary strategy to treat advanced cancer, including the work of Eugene Fine and Richard Feinman. You can download a recent paper on the subject here, in which a small (10 patient) sample was studied.  You can read Eugene’s discussion of the work on Richard’s blog – it is encouraging to note that even in this very small study, there was a statistically meaningful correlation between disease stabilization (with one case of remission) and dietary ketosis.  Getting back to the original point of this post, have a look at Thompson’s presentation (below).  Hopefully in the future we can move in a the direction of funding for dietary cancer prevention – there is good reason to believe in this “tumor starvation” approach. 

Published by Andrew Lyon

Founding Dean, Fowler School of Engineering @ Chapman University. Formerly Dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology @ Chapman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: