Every living thing needs food, but to Rekha Chaudhary, MD, food is life. Literally.
The adjunct associate professor at the UC College of Medicine and UC Health oncologist, who specializes in treating brain cancers, has spent much of her career trying to prove that we are what we eat, and that if we eat the proper things, we can prevent or even reverse the detrimental and often deadly effects of cancer.
“Personally, I’m plant-based with whole foods, which basically means that I am a vegan who eats non-processed foods,” she says. “Studies have shown a plant-based diet could prevent the onset of a number of cancers; however, I wouldn’t recommend this type of diet to someone who has already been diagnosed with a cancer like glioblastoma who, for instance, is undergoing radiation treatment for that cancer.”
This is where Chaudhary’s latest research endeavor comes in as she and co-investigator Tammy Ward, clinical dietitian and specialist in oncology nutrition at UC Health, begin studying whether or not a modified Atkins-type ketogenic diet could help make treatments for a common, but dangerous, type of brain cancer called glioblastoma more effective.
This unique clinical trial, only being offered at UC, will allow Chaudhary and Ward to follow patients with glioblastoma to see if a ketogenic diet coupled with standard treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) improves outcomes and quality of life.
This sort of research is exemplary of the innovation agenda highlighted in UC's Next Lives Here strategic direction.