Can ketogenic diet help treat common type of brain cancer?
Scientists are investigating whether a modified Atkins-type ketogenic diet could be the answer they are looking for in the treatment puzzle of a common, but dangerous, type of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
Through the trial, experts will follow patients with glioblastoma to see if a ketogenic diet coupled with standard treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) improves outcomes and quality of life.
Ketones are chemicals made in the liver, and a person produces them when they don’t have enough insulin to turn sugar into energy. Since the body needs another source, it uses fat instead, and the liver turns this fat into ketones, a type of acid, and sends them into the bloodstream.
Ketone metabolism has been used to control childhood epilepsy for many years but not much is known about what ketones do in the brain — only that they seem to help brain disorders. It’s also among the newest weight loss methods showing up on the news and internet in the last decade.
Researchers reviewed patient charts to look at MRI results as well as β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels, a predominant ketone, and reviewed their outcomes. There were 30 patients included in the study and all of them achieved ketosis which is the goal of the diet.
The latest trial will run in a similar fashion, with 30 patients being evaluated over 11 weeks. The diet will begin approximately seven days prior to treatment, and the patient will continue the study diet until the first post-radiation MRI, a time period of approximately 10 weeks.