Interesting piece from Science Daily called "Fasting Weakens Cancer in Mice." It's a kind of follow-up to something I wrote about a while ago (maybe last year), about a scientist who had completed some lab experiments that showed that fasting might help chemo be more effective. The study described here takes it one small step further and looks at whether it would work with mice. Turns out it does.
Cancer cells don't behave like regular cells -- we know that. But one of the ways they behave differently is in response to a lack of food. Regular cells will go into hibernation, essentially, when their food supply is cut off. (This is one reason why dieting is hard -- your body fights the lack of food by forcing itself to need less food.) Cancer cells, however, are hungry little buggers, and instead of slowing themselves down, will try different things to keep their food supply going. Their strategies backfire, and they kill themselves.
So says this research. Like lots of promising research, it works great in mice, but hasn't been tried yet in real people.
But it certainly seems intuitive: fast while receiving chemo, and you protect your own cells while giving a boost (that is, helping destroy) the cancer cells. But the human body is an unpredictable thing -- even less so when there's cancer in it. But wouldn't it be great to have a reasonably simple boost to chemo?