About keto diets and cancer

Debates arise frequently in the lung cancer community about reducing sugar intake to prevent and/or treat cancer. Some people claim a ketogenic diet is an effective cancer treatment, but rarely provide objective, scientific evidence to support this claim.

A recent article explored claims about the value of ketogenic diets for cancer patients. It was published in an open access journal and written by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK. The article found high-quality evidence regarding ketogenic diets for cancer patients is lacking:

“High‐quality evidence on the effect of ketogenic diets on anthropometry, metabolism, QoL [quality of life] and tumour effects is currently lacking in oncology patients. Heterogeneity between studies and low adherence to diet affects the current evidence. There is an obvious gap in the evidence, highlighting the need for controlled trials to fully evaluate the intervention.”

You can read the full article here:

A systematic review of the use of ketogenic diets in adult patients with cancer

Want to be a #lungcancer patient research advocate? Inaugural @IASLC STARS program application period is open!

    • Have you or a family member been diagnosed with lung cancer?
      Are you already active in providing lung cancer support and/or education to others?
      Do you want to ramp up your advocacy work and learn more about the science of lung cancer research?

    THEN …

    Apply for the brand-new STARS (Supportive Training for Advocate in Research and Science) program!  STARS was developed by the IASLC (International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer) in collaboration with international lung cancer patient research advocates and advocacy nonprofits.

    Those accepted in the program will be assigned a mentor from their own country, meet and learn lung cancer science from researchers, develop science communication skills, and attend the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Barcelona, Spain in September 2019.

    To learn more and to find the online application, click here:
    https://www.iaslc.org/supportive-training-advocates-research-and-science-stars

    The application period is open from March 8 to May 1, 2019. Hope you’ll apply!

    More evidence that reducing sugar doesn’t kill all cancers

    5 Things That Happen When You Quit Eating Sugar
    Most people are aware that many cancers consume extra glucose (sugar in the blood) in order to grow. That’s why PET scans use radioactive glucose as a tracer to detect cancer.

    However, not all cancers can be detected using a PET scan and radioactive glucose. This means not all cancers suck up sugar faster than normal cells. Reducing the available supply of sugar would probably not affect such cancer cells.

     
    Now we have more evidence that reducing available sugar does not halt growth of all cancers. Squamous cancer cells in a recent study continued to grow even when deprived of glucose. They simply altered their metabolism to derive energy from the amino acid glutamine. Also, feeding these cancer cells extra glucose did not accelerate their growth.
    While we still have much to learn about cancer metabolism, this is yet more evidence that reducing sugar intake won’t cure all cancers.

    Study overturns dogma of cancer metabolism theory

    Medicare approves genomic testing for cancers

    Today the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced they will cover Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) for cancer! This is a major victory for all cancer patients.

    Decision Memo for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) for Medicare Beneficiaries with Advanced Cancer (CAG-00450N)

    The value of one father

    Photo Credit: personalexcellence.co

    In some ways, my father was ahead of his time. An engineer, aviator, inventor, WWII vet, and medical doctor (Ok, he was an overachiever), Dad wanted all of his children, regardless of gender identity, to have a good science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education because he believed it would be essential for thriving in the future economic and political landscape. “Education is something that no one can take away from you,” he told me more than once.

    Dad (and Mom too) fought school policy to make sure I was allowed to take science instead of being forced to take Home Economics with the other girls. Dad taught me how to use a slide rule, and when my math class did not cover essential concepts–like using π to calculate the area of a circle–he taught me himself (though at the time I would have much rather gone to bed). He advocated so that I and some other advanced students could take algebra and chemistry a year early, which allowed us to cram all the available STEM classes into four high school years. And he made sure that I could afford to attend my choice of colleges that focused on science and engineering.

    In his sparse free time (he was a practicing family doctor while working as chief engineer at his father’s company on the side), he showed me how an oscilloscope could analyze an electronic circuit,  taught me how to find the constellations using a telescope, took me and a classmate out in his boat to collect plankton for a science project, and talked to my physiology class about medicine.

    True, he missed most every ball game, skipped a lot of music concerts, and often wasn’t home to read to me (thankfully Mom picked up the slack).  True, I had issues with his insistence on perfection and lack of positive feedback. Still, I am the happy, inquisitive science geek I am today in large part because my father made sure my scientific curiosity and abilities were nurtured.

    So, thanks, Dad, for believing in me. Despite your humanity and parenting missteps, you made a positive difference in my life. I wish 60-year-old me could talk to you face to face and make sure you knew how much I loved you–and love you still–and reassure you that I know how much you did for me.

    To all who have been, will be, or wished they were fathers; who stand in as a loving father figure; or who had or wished they had a good father ….

    may you spend Father’s Day remembering or making happy memories.

    Did Lung Cancer Claim Your Loved One? Invest 20 Minutes to Help Researchers Find New Treatments!

    If your loved one was treated for lung cancer at a community hospital, and has since died, you can help find new lung cancer treatments that might spare other families the anguish you’re feeling.

    Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer. Fortunately, researchers have discovered several new therapies that are helping to turn metastatic lung cancer into a chronic illness instead of an automatic death sentence.  Some of these therapies are effective for 70-80% of patients whose tumors have certain biomarkers .

    Unfortunately, not all types of lung cancer have such effective treatments — yet.  Researchers need to find more lung cancer biomarkers and develop more drugs to target them. Discovering these biomarkers and new therapies requires studying LOTS of lung cancer tumor tissue.  If more tumor tissue from different patients were available for researchers to study, we might find new biomarkers and effective targeted therapies faster.

    How can I help?

    If your loved one was treated for lung cancer at a community hospital, and has since died, you can help by donating your loved one’s archived tumor tissue. 

    Researchers usually obtain tumor tissue from lung cancer biopsies and surgeries performed at their academic cancer centers.  However, most lung cancer patients (about 80%) are treated at community and clinics, not academic cancer centers.  Those hospitals generally just archive any tumor tissue that is not needed for guiding patient care, and destroy those tissues five to ten years after the patient has died.  This means a lot of tumor tissue that could be used for finding new lung cancer therapies never gets to researchers.

    The National Cancer Institute’s Lung Cancer SPORE at the University of Colorado (I’ll call it CU Lung SPORE for short) aims to help lung cancer researchers find cures faster.  Like other NCI SPOREs, CU has a biorepository (some people may call it a biobank) where they store patient specimens and medical records.  The biobank provides the tissues along with the important clinical background to scientists studying new ways to treat lung cancer, not only from the University of Colorado, but to institutions all around the country. Researchers can search for available specimens and request them for research projects.

    The CU Lung SPORE created a pilot study to collect archived tumor tissue and medical records of deceased lung cancer patients, and place these in their biobank so that researchers can use them.  This study focuses on deceased patients because they have no further need of the tissues (living patients may need their specimens for tumor testing later).  The study needs five to ten more family members to submit signed release forms so we can complete the pilot study and assess whether this a feasible way to gather more lung cancer tumor tissue for research.

    HIPAA laws forbid a research center from asking patients or family members about donating tissues and medical records if the patient wasn’t treated at their facility. But advocates (like me) CAN ask.

    What do I have to do?

    To participate, all you need do is:

    • Download the release form (by clicking on this link Family member Release Form (revised 2016-06-23) and fill in some information about you, your loved one, and where your loved one was treated,
    • Sign the release form, and
    • Mail the completed, signed release form to:
      • Mary K. Jackson
      • Team Manager – Specialized Program of Research Excellence [SPORE]
      • University of Colorado Cancer Center
      • 13001 E 17th Place MS B-189
      • Aurora, CO 80045

    Filling in the release form only takes about 20 minutes (assuming you have to look up the contact information for the hospital).  Pretty easy, isn’t it?

    What happens next?

    The SPORE will contact the hospital where your loved one was treated and request your loved one’s archived tissue and medical records. Once these documents are received at CU, they will be reviewed by the study team, de-identified (which means personally identifying information is removed), and placed in the CU Lung SPORE’s biobank.

    THAT’S IT!

    PLEASE consider donating your deceased loved one’s archived lung cancer tissue and medical records for research through this project. You can learn more by contacting me (the patient advocate for the CU Lung SPORE) at jfreeman.wa@gmail.com, or the CU Lung SPORE at the address above.

    Do it to honor your loved one.  Do it for the next family stricken by lung cancer. Whatever your reason, please do it.  We’ve lost too many to this disease.

     

    Note: This research study’s official project title is “Patient-Initiated Biobanking of Deceased Lung Cancer Patient Tissues” and its study number is COMIRB# 15-1294.  It is not a clinical trial dealing with live patients, so you will not find it listed on clinicaltrials.gov.  

    Who are Cancer Clinical Trials For? (a reblog)

    Cancer clinical trials can be a good treatment option.  Today I’m giving a signal boost to a great post on CURE Today by my amazing clinical trial oncologist, D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, at University of Colorado.  He’s written a nice overview of the benefits and pitfalls of cancer clinical trials for patients.

    Who are Cancer Clinical Trials For: Guinea Pigs, Test Pilots or Prize Poodles?