Dr. Gerry Krystal talks about his main interest in cancer research: eradicating cancer cells by changing our diet.
My lab has two main areas of interest right now. The first is how we can eradicate cancer cells by changing our diet. Cancer cells take up and need much more sugar (we researchers call it glucose) to grow and survive than normal cells. Carbohydrates are the most common source for glucose in our diet. So, we have found that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet not only significantly slows tumour growth in the lab, but reduces the incidence of cancer as well. It does this by lowering the level of glucose in the blood. One of the great things about this diet is that it prevents obesity, which also is connected to cancer incidence rates. In fact, I am on this diet myself, eating lots of nuts, seeds and whey powder, while avoiding bread, potatoes and white rice. I have never felt better! Another area of interest we have is encouraging immune cells within a tumour to become more aggressive and attack the cancer cells. Currently, my lab is combining our low carbohydrate, high protein diet with drugs that enhance the immune cells within tumours, in order to completely eradicate the cancer cells. We are very encouraged by our preliminary findings. We are also encouraged that BC Cancer Foundation donors have shown interest in this project and are supporting our studies. Gerry