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08 February 2018, 09:34 | Rodolfo Wallace
Restricting the amino acid found in asparagus soy dairy poultry beef and seafood decreased the spread of breast cancer
There has been an earlier study published past year that showed that the amino acids glycine and serine were important for the development and spread of lymphomas and intestinal cancers. Experts do not recommend the removal of foods from the diet containing asparaginase because it can be very hard to do, and the findings of this study have not yet been confirmed.
Finding ways to stop this from happening is fundamental to increasing survival.
While it is not clear how, a team showed that a diet low in asparagine significantly reduced tumours' spread in affected mice. While the body can make asparagine, it's also found in our diet, with higher concentrations in some foods including asparagus, soy, dairy, poultry, and seafood.
"In the future, restricting this amino acid through a controlled diet plan or by other means could be an additional part of treatment for some patients with breast and other cancers". When this takes place the disease has already reached stage 4 called the metastatic cancer.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said patients should not go on drastic diets on the back of this study.
It is unclear how the amino acid promotes tumour growth, however, it is thought to somehow aid cancerous cells in leaving their original site, surviving in the bloodstream and colonising other organs.
Most cancer patients do not die from their primary tumour, but from the spread of diseased cells to the lungs, brain, bones, or other organs. They found men and women with a mutated BRCA gene could be treated by the new drugs.
"A better understanding of the nutrients that help fuel cancer's spread is important if we're going to find new ways to slow the process down and possibly stop it". Researchers at the University of Cambridge, who led the study, believe breast cancer patients could be given a diet low in such foods to improve their chances.
"Interestingly, the drug L-asparaginase is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which is dependent on asparagine".
If the trials are successful it will pave the way for the first personalised, or "precision", medicines for prostate cancer. They do know that not all cancer patients would benefit from this treatment.
These enable doctors to accurately target cancers according to the patient's genetic make-up, rather than the "one-size-fits-all" approach provided by chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
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