Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Peter Attia Drive

Jun 8, 2020

In this episode, Eileen White, Chief Scientific Officer at the Rutgers Cancer Institute, describes the fundamental role of autophagy in the maintenance of health and prevention of neurodegeneration, cancer, and other diseases. She also goes into detail about the paradoxical finding that autophagy may benefit an existing cancer cell and help it to survive—a discovery leading to new possibilities in cancer therapy. We also discuss fasting (and molecules that induce autophagy) and the critical need to decode the proper fasting “dose” in order to improve human health.

We discuss:


  • Eileen’s discovery that a specific oncogene blocks apoptosis [3:40];
  • Defining apoptosis and its role in cancer prevention [10:00];
  • How cancer cells use the autophagy pathway to survive [17:20];
  • Stressors that induce autophagy [29:15];
  • The importance of autophagy in the brain and liver [32:45];
  • The mechanisms that can trigger autophagy to support longevity [40:00];
  • Evidence for cancer treatment by blocking autophagy [42:30];
  • Types of cancer that are most autophagy-dependent [46:45];
  • The autophagy paradox [52:40];
  • Finding a molecular signal for autophagy [59:15];
  • Current knowledge gaps around fasting as a tool for longevity [1:13:00];
  • Rapamycin, metformin, and other molecules that may induce autophagy [1:22:15];
  • How to study fasting and exercise as longevity tools [1:32:50];
  • The Nobel Prize for autophagy research [1:36:45];
  • Eileen’s future areas of research [1:38:25];
  • A fasting strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease prevention[1:49:25];
  • Future study of metabolism and autophagy [1:51:30]; and
  • More. 

Learn more:

Show notes page for this episode: 

Subscribe to receive exclusive subscriber-only content:

Sign up to receive Peter's email newsletter:

Connect with Peter on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.