London, Jan 18: Proper diet and a favourable lifestyle can effectively boost a person's ability to respond favourably to certain drugs, including some cancer therapies.
University of Manchester researchers, using baker's yeast, a model organism studied by biologists to reveal molecular processes in higher organism effectively exhibited that the nutrients in the environment played a critical role in the fitness of cells that carry genetic mutations caused by diseases.
They removed one of the two copies of all yeast genes, similar to removing one parent's set of genes in a human and scrutinized the resulting fitness under different dietary restrictions.
"If the gene targeted is quantitatively important, you would normally expect the yeast to show a reduction in fitness," Nature Genetics quoted Dr Daniela Delneri, lead researcher in the University's Faculty of Life Sciences, as saying.
"But what we found was that in certain environmental conditions, removing one copy of certain genes actually produced the opposite effect and surprisingly the yeast cells grew more quickly and were healthier," she added.
They also found that effect mainly transpired in genes involved in the proteasome, a quality-control system within the cell that degrades unwanted proteins.
"The proteasome is important as it maintains the equilibrium of the cell. When this equilibrium is lost it can result in a number of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Huntingdon's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," said Delneri.
Researchers recommended that a person's diet and lifestyle should be taken into consideration while prescribing therapeutic drugs to assure a beneficial effect.
"Our study shows that reduced proteasome activity could be either advantageous or damaging to the cell depending on the nutrients available to it in the surrounding environment," she added.
The study appears in Journal Nature Genetics.