Starvation may protect organism against chemotherapy

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Starvation-based strategy of cancer treatment might increase the efficacy of chemotherapy, scientists believe. The modern science methods to treat cancer are mainly focused on the killing of tumor cells. However, the chemotherapy affects on organism itself in a negative way. The differential stress resistance method (DSR) can protect the organism but not cancer cells against chemotherapy. The scientists suggested that specific agents among promoting oxidative stress and DNA damage could maximize the differential toxicity to normal and cancer cells. Because cancer cells are less responsive to growth-regulating signals they are likely to remain sensitive to the treatment after starvation, whereas normal cells will increase their resistance to the drug. According to the research, short-term starved normal cells are up to 1,000 times better protected against oxidative stress or chemotherapy drugs than cells expressing the oncogene homolog. Low-glucose or low-serum media also protected normal cells but not cancer cell lines against hydrogen peroxide or the chemotherapy drugs. More over, short-term starvation provided complete protection to mice but not to injected neuroblastoma cells against a high dose of the chemotherapy.

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