Thursday, 28 July 2011

High fat diet more effective than low calorie diet

This is fat though. Not cholesterol.
Don't take sugar or carbohydrates such as rice, bread etc. Just eat
oily food. Fish oil, olive oil etc.,8599,1662484,00.html

Can a High-Fat Diet Beat Cancer?
By Richard Friebe Monday, Sept. 17, 2007
Click here to find out more!




The women's hospital at the University of Würzburg used to be the
biggest of its kind in Germany. Its former size is part of the
historical burden it carries — countless women were involuntarily
sterilized here when it stood in the geographical center of Nazi

Today, the capacity of the historical building overlooking the college
town, where the baroque and mid-20th-century concrete stand in a
jarring mix, has been downsized considerably. And the experiments
within its walls are of a very different nature.

Since early 2007, Dr. Melanie Schmidt and biologist Ulrike Kämmerer,
both at the Würzburg hospital, have been enrolling cancer patients in
a Phase I clinical study of a most unexpected medication: fat. Their
trial puts patients on a so-called ketogenic diet, which eliminates
almost all carbohydrates, including sugar, and provides energy only
from high-quality plant oils, such as hempseed and linseed oil, and
protein from soy and animal products.

What sounds like yet another version of the Atkins craze is actually
based on scientific evidence that dates back more than 80 years. In
1924, the German Nobel laureate Otto Warburg first published his
observations of a common feature he saw in fast-growing tumors: unlike
healthy cells, which generate energy by metabolizing sugar in their
mitochondria, cancer cells appeared to fuel themselves exclusively
through glycolysis, a less-efficient means of creating energy through
the fermentation of sugar in the cytoplasm. Warburg believed that this
metabolic switch was the primary cause of cancer, a theory that he
strove, unsuccessfully, to establish until his death in 1970.

To the two researchers in Würzburg, the theoretical debate about what
is now known as the Warburg effect — whether it is the primary cause
of cancer or a mere metabolic side effect — is irrelevant. What they
believe is that it can be therapeutically exploited. The theory is
simple: If most aggressive cancers rely on the fermentation of sugar
for growing and dividing, then take away the sugar and they should
stop spreading. Meanwhile, normal body and brain cells should be able
to handle the sugar starvation; they can switch to generating energy
from fatty molecules called ketone bodies — the body's main source of
energy on a fat-rich diet — an ability that some or most fast-growing
and invasive cancers seem to lack.

The Würzburg trial, funded by the Otzberg, Germany–based diet food
company Tavartis, which supplies the researchers with food packages,
is still in its early, difficult stages. "One big problem we have,"
says Schmidt, sitting uncomfortably on a small, wooden chair in the
crammed tea kitchen of Kämmerer's lab, "is that we are only allowed to
enroll patients who have completely run out of all other therapeutic
options." That means that most people in the study are faring very
badly to begin with. All have exhausted traditional treatments, such
as surgery, radiation and chemo, and even some alternative ones like
hyperthermia and autohemotherapy. Patients in the study have
pancreatic tumors and aggressive brain tumors called glioblastomas,
among other cancers; participants are recruited primarily because
their tumors show high glucose metabolism in PET scans.

Four of the patients were so ill, they died within the first week of
the study. Others, says Schmidt, dropped out because they found it
hard to stick to the no-sweets diet: "We didn't expect this to be such
a big problem, but a considerable number of patients left the study
because they were unable or unwilling to renounce soft drinks,
chocolate and so on."

The good news is that for five patients who were able to endure three
months of carb-free eating, the results were positive: the patients
stayed alive, their physical condition stabilized or improved and
their tumors slowed or stopped growing, or shrunk. These early
findings have elicited "very positive reactions and an increased
interest from colleagues," Kämmerer says, while cautioning that the
results are preliminary and that the study was not designed to test
efficacy, but to identify side effects and determine the safety of the
diet-based approach. So far, it's impossible to predict whether it
will really work. It is already evident that it doesn't always: two
patients recently left the study because their tumors kept growing,
even though they stuck to the diet.

Past studies, however, offer some hope. The first human experiments
with the ketogenic diet were conducted in two children with brain
cancer by Case Western Reserve oncologist Linda Nebeling, now with the
National Cancer Institute. Both children responded well to the high-
fat diet. When Nebeling last got in contact with the patients' parents
in 2005, a decade after her study, one of the subjects was still alive
and still on a high-fat diet. It would be scientifically unsound to
draw general conclusions from her study, says Nebeling, but some
experts, such as Boston College's Thomas Seyfried, say it's still a
remarkable achievement. Seyfried has long called for clinical trials
of low-carb, high-fat diets against cancer, and has been trying to
push research in the field with animal studies: His results suggest
that mice survive cancers, including brain cancer, much longer when
put on high-fat diets, even longer when the diets are also calorie-
restricted. "Clinical studies are highly warranted," he says,
attributing the lack of human studies to the medical establishment,
which he feels is single-minded in its approach to treatment, and
opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, which doesn't stand to
profit much from a dietetic treatment for cancer.

The tide appears to be shifting. A study similar to the trial in
Würzburg is now under way in Amsterdam, and another, slated to begin
in mid-October, is currently awaiting final approval by the ethics
committee at the University Hospital in Tübingen, Germany. There, in
the renowned old research institution in the German southwest, neuro-
oncologist Dr. Johannes Rieger wants to enroll patients with
glioblastoma and astrocytoma, aggressive brain cancers for which there
are hardly any sustainable therapies. Cell culture and animal
experiments suggest that these tumors should respond particularly well
to low-carb, high-fat diets. And, usually, these patients are
physically sound, since the cancer affects only the brain. "We hope,
and we have reason to believe, that it will work," says Rieger.

Still, none of the researchers currently studying ketogenic diets,
including Rieger, expects it to deliver anything close to a universal
treatment for cancer. And none of them wants to create exaggerated
hopes for a miracle cure in seriously ill patients, who may never
benefit from the approach. But the recent findings are difficult to
ignore. Robert Weinberg, a biology professor at MIT's Whitehead
Institute who discovered the first human oncogene, has long been
critical of therapeutic approaches based on the Warburg effect, and
has certainly dismissed it as a primary cause of cancer. Nevertheless,
he conceded, in an email, for tumors that have been affected by the
ketogenic diet in animal models, "there might be some reason to go
ahead with a Phase I clinical trial, especially for patients who have
no other realistic therapeutic options."

Richard Friebe is executive editor of the German science magazine SZ

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