Controlled Amino Acid Treatment (CAAT)—A Novel Nutritional Approach to Cancer Treatment
By Michael B. Schachter, MD, CNS, FACAM
Angelo P. John, a cancer theorist for more than 40 years, has developed an extremely interesting and promising nutritional approach to help cancer patients. The treatment is called Controlled Amino Acid Treatment or CAAT. CAAT is an amino acid and carbohydrate deprivation protocol using scientifically formulated amino acids. It is based on the fact that the needs of normal cells and cancer cells are quite different. By manipulating the diet of a cancer patient and supplying a proprietary blend of amino acids (the building blocks of protein in the body), cancer cells may be literally starved to death. The program consists of: (1) a strict diet; (2) a special amino acid blend, which contains high doses of certain amino acids and low doses of others—the exact blend depends to some extent on the type of cancer being treated; (3) certain nutritional supplements and the avoidance of others.
The treatment attacks cancer cells in four ways: (1) It helps to prevent new blood vessel formation, which is necessary for the growth of solid cancers; (2) It interferes with the cancer cells ability to produce energy by blocking a process called glycolysis in cancer cells; (3) It reduces the ability of the body to produce growth factors that stimulate cancers to grow; and (4) It interferes with the production of specific amino acids that are necessary for DNA replication in cancer cells.
The diet is quite strict and is low in both carbohydrates and protein. Fat intake is moderate and involves specific fats. The amino acid blend reduces certain amino acids (such as glycine, valine, leucine and isoleucine) and increases others, resulting in reduced production of the protein elastin, which is necessary for new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis).
In contrast to normal cells, which produce energy primarily through the use of oxygen, cancer cells produce energy by a process known as glycolysis because their mitochondria (energy producing structures in cells that utilize oxygen) are damaged and not capable of utilizing oxygen the way normal cells do. The strict diet and amino acid blend attack the glycolysis process in cancer cells, thus helping to prevent the production of energy in cancer cells.
Certain growth factors produced in the body, such as human growth hormone and insulin growth factor 1 (IGF1) tend to stimulate cancer growth. This program with its reduced calorie and protein diet tends to reduce the production of these growth factors.
The growth of cancer cells requires certain amino acids (like glycine) and nutrients (like vitamin B6) for replication of the cancer cells’ DNA. The reduction of these nutrients in this CAAT protocol helps to inhibit DNA replication in cancer cells.
A number of nutritional supplements are recommended in this program. These may include, but are not limited to: (1) vitamins A, C and D; (2) D-Limonene; (3) N-Acetylcysteine (NAC); (4) Grape Seed Extract; (5) Lycopene; and others. On the other hand, most of the B vitamins and especially vitamin B6 need to be avoided because they enhance the glycolysis process or DNA replication.
This program has been used since 1994 in very advanced cancer patients either combined with conventional treatment of radiation and/or chemotherapy or without these conventional treatments. Angelo John develops these nutritional programs for cancer patients with the cooperation of the patient’s oncologist or with nutritionally oriented complementary and alternative physicians who work with cancer patients. The results so far have been quite remarkable. For more detailed information on this program, check out A.P. John's website: http://www.apjohncancerinstitute.org. The Schachter Center is collaborating with Mr. John in the management of several cancer patients.
Regardless of the type of cancer one has, cancer cells all survive through the same biochemical processes. CAAT interferes with these processes and causes the cancer cells to die, significantly increasing the chances of recovery. However, because each patient is unique, CAAT is designed for one's specific needs, taking into account the person's patient profile and medical history. A personalized amino acid deprivation formula and food plan is designed for each patient's individual requirements.