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Former CIA Director David Petraeus has apologized to those he “hurt and let down”, in his first public speech since resigning over his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell.

David Petraeus said at the University of Southern California military event his actions had caused “pain for family and friends”.

But the retired general said he hoped his fall would teach others that “life doesn’t stop with such a mistake and must go on”.

David Petraeus quit after his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered during an FBI investigation.

He was speaking to about 600 guests at the University of Southern California’s annual Reserve Officers’ Training Corps dinner.

David Petraeus has apologized to those he "hurt and let down", in his first public speech since resigning over his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell

David Petraeus has apologized to those he “hurt and let down”, in his first public speech since resigning over his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell

David Petraeus received a standing ovation, then began his speech by saying: “Needless to say, I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago.”

The former CIA chief said he was also “keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing”.

David Petraeus added: “So please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret – and apologize for – the circumstances that led me to resign from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters.”

David Petraeus has kept a low profile since resigning on November 9, 2012.

His lawyer said David Petraeus had spent much of the time with his family.

A harassment complaint by Florida socialite Jill Kelley over emails she had received had led the FBI to unmask the affair.

Jill Kelley knew David Petraeus through social contacts on the Florida military base where US Central Command is headquartered.

When the FBI investigated, it traced the emails to an apparently jealous Paula Broadwell.

Jill Kelley also knew the top US general in Afghanistan, General John Allen. John Allen also sent emails to Jill Kelley but has been cleared of any misconduct.

Towards the end of his speech, David Petraeus said he hoped his experience “can be instructive to others who stumble or indeed fall as far as I did. One learns, after all, that life doesn’t stop with such a mistake. It can and must go on”.

David Petraeus added: “I know that I can never fully assuage the pain that I inflicted on those closest to me and on a number of others.

“I can, however, try to move forward in a manner that is consistent to the values to which I subscribed before slipping my moorings and, as best as possible, to make amends to those I have hurt and let down.”

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Scientists from the University of Southern California say fasting for short periods may help to combat cancer and boost the effectiveness of treatments.

Their study found fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumors and cured some cancers when it was combined with chemotherapy.

It is hoped that the discovery will prompt the development of more effective treatment plans and further research is now under way.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, found that tumor cells responded differently to the stress of fasting compared to normal cells.

Instead of entering a dormant state similar to hibernation, the cells kept growing and dividing, in the end destroying themselves.

Lead researcher Professor Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California said: “The cell is, in fact, committing cellular suicide.

“What we’re seeing is that the cancer cell tries to compensate for the lack of all these things missing in the blood after fasting. It may be trying to replace them, but it can’t.”

Prof. Valter Longo and his team looked at the impact fasting had on breast, urinary tract and ovarian cancers in mice.

Fasting without chemotherapy was shown to slow the growth of breast cancer, melanoma skin cancer, glioma brain cancer and neuroblastoma – a cancer that forms in the nerve tissue.

In every case, combining fasting with chemotherapy made the cancer treatment more effective.

Multiple cycles of fasting combined with chemotherapy cured 20% of those with a highly aggressive form of cancer while 40% with a limited spread of the same cancer were cured.

None of the mice survived if they were treated with chemotherapy alone.

Researchers are already investigating the effects of fasting on human patients, but only a clinical trial lasting several years will confirm if human cancer patients really can benefit from calorie restriction.

However, they highlight that fasting could be dangerous for patients who have already lost a lot of weight or are affected by other risk factors, such as diabetes.

Results of a preliminary clinical trial will be presented at an annual meeting of the American Society of Cancer Oncologists (ASCO) in Chicago this June.

Prof. Valter Longo points out that the study only tests if patients could tolerate short fasts of two days before and one day after chemotherapy.

“We don’t know whether in humans it’s effective,” he said.

“It should be off-limits to patients, but a patient should be able to go to their oncologist and say, <<what about fasting with chemotherapy?>> or without if chemotherapy was not recommended or considered.”

Previous research led by Prof. Valter Longo showed that fasting protected normal cells from the effects of chemotherapy but it did not look at cancer cells.

It is now though fasting may be one way to make tumor cells weaker and more vulnerable.

Prof. Valter Longo added: “A way to beat cancer cells may not be to try to find drugs that kill them specifically but to confuse them by generating extreme environments, such as fasting, that only normal cells can quickly respond to.”