Study shows fasting kills cancer cells of common childhood leukemia

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that intermittent fasting inhibits the development and progression of the most common type of childhood leukaemia.

This strategy was not effective, however, in another type of blood cancer that commonly strikes adults.

“This study using mouse models indicates that the effects of fasting on blood cancers are type-dependent and provides a platform for identifying new targets for leukaemia treatments,” said Dr. Chengcheng “Alec” Zhang, Associate Professor of Physiology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, published online today by Nature Medicine. “We also identified a mechanism responsible for the differing response to the fasting treatment,” he added.

The researchers found that fasting both inhibits the initiation and reverses the progression of two sub-types of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, or ALL – B-cell ALL and T-cell ALL. The same method did not work with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the type that is more common in adults.

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