Health Care Professional Information

Common Name

Controlled Amino Acid Therapy

Clinical Summary

Controlled Amino Acid Therapy (CAAT) was developed by Angelo P John of the A. P. John Institute for Cancer Research. It is an amino acid and carbohydrate deprivation protocol. The objective of the therapy is to impair the development of cancer cells by altering cell formation through structure, energy, blood vessels, growth hormones and cell functions. The regimen consists of a carbohydrate and protein restricted diet with added supplements. In addition, supplementation with Superoxide Dismutase, curcumin, parsley, quercetin, lycopene, Vitamin D and green tea extract is encouraged. (See individual monographs for more information about those supplements.) The protocol is meant to be maintained for six to nine months as an adjunct to conventional chemotherapy and radiation (1). Whereas the Institute's website describes studies that support the theories behind the protocol, no studies have been conducted to determine the safety or efficacy of the regimen itself.

Purported Uses
Constituents

Proprietary amino-acid deprivation formula (1)

Mechanism of Action

According to the proponents, CAAT curbs the growth of cancer cells by impairing a number of factors essential to their growth. Restricting the cancer cell's access to glycine is thought to limit its ability to replicate its DNA, build new blood vessels, and create growth factors and other hormones essential for metastatic growth. Additionally, the low-carbohydrate diet is supposed to inhibit glycolysis, the main mechanism for cancer cells to derive energy (1).

Literature Summary and Critique

There are no studies to support use of CAAT for cancer.

References
  1. A.P. John Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.apjohncancerinstitute.org/. Accessed July 18, 2011.

Consumer Information

How It Works

Bottom Line: No studies have been performed to determine the safety or efficacy of Controlled Amino Acid Therapy (CAAT) in the treatment of cancer.

The proponents of CAAT maintain that eating a specially formulated diet that is low in carbohydrates and deprived of certain amino acids essential for cell replication may be effective as an adjuvant cancer therapy. The manufacturer cites studies showing that low calorie diets are effective in promoting tumor shrinkage in animals. Other studies demonstrating that certain cancer cell lines may be adversely affected by glucose or amino acid deprivation have been mentioned. There are no clinical studies to show this therapy is an effective cancer treatment in humans.

Purported Uses
  • To Treat Cancer
    Studies have yet to be conducted to determine whether CAAT has any effect on cancer in humans.
Special Point

Restrictive diets may lead to nutrient deficiency.

E-mail your questions and comments to aboutherbs@mskcc.org.