Cancer is a serious disease that has used exhaustive efforts and exerted heavy financial and scientific burdens to develop an understanding into the nature of its’ various types, and to advance therapies and management protocols. It is becoming acceptable that among the major methods that appeared in the literature has been the use of starvation to reduce or even halt the survival of cancer cells at the time when normal cells would be less dramatically affected.
This work is an attempt to give a comprehensive explanation of the effects of general or selective starvation on cells and highlight the underlying molecular mechanisms of starvation on various cells. The major aims are to understand and to develop suitable and effective therapeutic methods based on nutritional manipulations, for combating malignancies. Starvation modules generally include general starvation, or restricted starvation, where the major modes include glucose deprivation under normal or abnormal oxygenation, amino acid and nucleic acid deprivation, and other selected nutritional precursors. There are also experiments that studied the effects of combined deficiencies. In addition, these artificial nutritional deficiencies have been tested for their potential uses in boosting the effects of chemotherapeutic agents. Thus, presented in this pre-working manual is a comprehensive and a unique account of the literature on the experimental and clinical evidence that support the efficiency of starvation therapy. The molecular mechanisms and cellular alterations that accompany the starvation have been described along. Nevertheless, negative effects of certain nutritional starvation modes have also been described extensively along with much of their underlying cellular mechanisms. Knowledge of these, and of the counter-measures undertaken by malignant cells under starvation, may give leads as to what methods to avoid among the available choices. They also serve as guidelines for research aiming at developing means for antagonizing or neutralizing such unanticipated mechanisms that generate the negative and undesired effects. This study contains vital information that mark differences among various kinds of tumour cells, and differences within one cell type under various growth stages and conditions. Mostly, it represents a trial to collect together information on starvation work in an attempt to draw lines for further work aimed at developing and standardizing methods for treating cancer. Hence a method selected may be unique to a tumour type and stage, with particular considerations for any negative results expected especially with other cancer types. Hence, this work serves as orientation for further organized research and clinical trials which are required to optimize modes of therapy and conditions required per cancer type. This work appears to be a first attempt to compile a vast amount of scattered information into a translatable form that may aid in building up and advancing therapeutic strategies for cancer.
Biography of author(s)
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
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