Nowadays there are more and more studies that prove that a correct diet is a weapon of prevention against cancer. A deep and complex relationship between food and cancer, but which is leading to excellent results in research. And now the discovery is that the Mediterranean diet would also be the perfect ally to increase the effectiveness of the medicines used to treat some forms of cancer.
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Cancer, the Mediterranean diet helps immunotherapy
Drugs that work by reactivating the immune system against cancer have produced important advances in the treatment of some cancers, such as melanoma. However, they do not have the same efficacy in all patients and, not infrequently, they lose efficacy over time. However, a study presented during the congress of European gastroenterologists (UEG Week) in Vienna suggests a strategy that could increase the effectiveness of these treatments: following a Mediterranean diet. In fact, in patients who adopt this diet, the treatment based on immunotherapy seems to be more effective.
Mediterranean diet, mortality risk reduced by 25% in over 65s: fewer tumors and allergies. Here’s what to eat – Il Messaggero https://t.co/H81yu7SJ7j via @GoogleNews
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Effectiveness on the intestinal microbiota
The study, coordinated by the University Medical Center of Groningen, in the Netherlands, followed 91 patients with advanced melanoma being treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors and found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet had a higher rate of response to therapy and less chance of cancer. began to grow again. An additional advantage was had when a diet rich in whole foods and legumes was followed: in this case there was also a lower risk of side effects affecting the digestive system. Conversely, a high consumption of red meat and sausages was associated with a higher likelihood of side effects.
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“Our study supports the role of dietary strategies in improving patient outcomes and survival,” said study lead author Laura Bolte. The properties of the Mediterranean diet could be linked to the beneficial effects it exerts on the intestinal microbiota, which, in turn, has been shown to be able to condition the response to immunotherapy treatments.
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A study published last February in Nature Medicine, conducted, among others, by researchers from the University of Trento and the European Institute of Oncology also involved in this new study, showed, for example, how the presence of the bacterium in the faeces Akkermansia muciniphila was able to predict the response to immunotherapy. Previous tests had shown, however, how fecal transplantation, by changing the composition of the intestinal microbiota, was able to restore efficacy to immunotherapy. There are currently many studies underway on the subject and could “in the future, unlock the benefits of treatment for a large group of cancer patients,” added Bolte.