What is controlled amino acid therapy (CAAT)?

Angelo John of the A. P. John Institute for Cancer Research invented Controlled Amino Acid Therapy (CAAT). It’s a diet that eliminates both amino acids and carbohydrates. The goal of this treatment is to prevent cancer cells from forming by changing cell shape, energy, blood vessels, growth hormones, and function. The programme includes a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet as well as supplementation. In addition, taking Superoxide Dismutase, curcumin, parsley, quercetin, lycopene, Vitamin D, and green tea extract supplements is recommended. The treatment is intended to be used in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy and radiation for six to nine months. While the Institute’s now-defunct website stated studies that back up the protocol’s ideas, no research has been done to determine the regimen’s safety or efficacy.

Selective Amino Acid Deprivation

Selective amino acid restriction treatment (SAART) is a significant component of CAAT. It is based on the theory that many cancer cells have mutations that limit the synthesis of certain amino acids that are necessary for protein synthesis and hence cell survival. When these cancer cells are not given an external supply of these amino acids, they are unable to perform protein synthesis and consequently die.

It has been suggested that depriving cancer cells of amino acids for a short period of time may cause them to die without harming normal cells or triggering muscular proteolysis. This concept has not been completely validated in vivo, although it is based on findings from in vitro and in vivo investigations of single amino acid deprivation and total protein limitation.

According to one study, a significant reduction in overall protein intake inhibits cell proliferation in castration-resistant prostate cancer cells, and gefitinib combined with amino acid starvation culture conditions (i.e., amino acids not present in culture medium) resulted in cytotoxicity of EGFR-expressing cancer cell lines.

In a xenograft mice model of human breast cancer, reduced protein consumption similarly decreased tumour development but had no effect on body weight. In animal models, selective amino acid deprivation of serine and glycine or phenylalanine and tyrosine has also been shown to suppress tumour development.

Mechanism of action

Controlled amino acid therapy, according to its proponents, slows the development of cancer cells by interfering with a variety of growth factors. Glycine restriction is considered to impair a cancer cell’s capacity to copy DNA, form new blood vessels, and produce growth factors and other hormones necessary for metastatic growth. Furthermore, a low-carbohydrate diet is considered to impede glycolysis, the primary source of energy for cancer cells.


Controlled amino acid therapy supporters claim that eating a specific low-carbohydrate, low-amino-acid diet can assist as an additional cancer treatment. They cite animal studies that suggest low-calorie diets can reduce tumour size. Other research has been reported that show cancer cell lines might be targeted by depriving them of glucose or amino acids.

Selective amino acid deprivation appears to have anticancer effect in vitro and in vivo, and medicines that block specific amino acid metabolism are being investigated as anticancer treatment. However, neither preclinical nor clinical trials have been conducted on the CAAT protocol.

Although certain aspects of the CAAT regimen have been researched, only a handful have been proven to be effective in clinical studies. There is inadequate evidence to show that the CAAT regimen is a successful cancer therapy.