Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Does Fat Help Fight Cancer?

tidbits that tantalizeDoctor's Orders...

This is unbelievable. No, really - your husband will never believe it.

The breast cancer diagnosis was a shock for both of you. But, you're pretty proud of him. He's really hung in there, sticking right by your side through chemo and radiation. A real trooper. But, now...

You're afraid this new treatment may throw him. After all, it is hard to believe that a chocolate ├ęclair is part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan. Or, for that matter, a dish of macaroni and cheese, a bowl of Ben and Jerry's, or a fresh piece of piping hot blueberry pie covered in homemade whipped cream. But, you're just following the doctor's orders...

Yes, it may be true - researchers at the University of Chicago report that adding food, especially high fat food, to a new breast cancer drug enhances its effectiveness. The drug, Tykerb, is a product of GalxoSmithKline.

The findings contradict the "take on an empty stomach" admonition carried by many drugs. The scientists explain that the liver metabolizes many drugs through the same process it uses to break down foods. Fortunately, it appears the liver is a poor multi-tasker. While its attention is focused on breaking down the foods it ignores the drugs, allowing them to circulate in the bloodstream longer.

This means that a lower dose can have the same effect. It's potentially quite significant news, particularly given the high cost of many cancer treatment medications.

Oh, you remember that whole thing about not drinking grapefruit juice with your medications? Well... It appears just the opposite may be true, with grapefruit juice providing a final boost to a drug's impact by slowing its breakdown.

A word of caution: This is in the study phase. While it appears quite promising, no changes should yet be made based on these results.

But, while we wait for the final word, maybe just a bite or two of chocolate pie would...

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, see this from breastcancer.org.

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