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Is their a link between sugar consumption and cancer? Scientists may finally be able to explain how tumors grow!

Previously, it was a topic of debate whether Warburg Effect was a symptom of cancer, or a cause of cancer.

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Can sugar contribute to growth of cancer in your body? Pixabay
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Belgium, October 28, 2017: Is your sugar consumption causing, or spreading cancer in your body?

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications claims to have found the connection between sugar and cancer and scientists may finally be able to explain how tumors grow.

The nine-year-old study has revealed that cancer cells break down sugars at a faster rate than other cells which consequently stimulates the growth of tumors.

Scientists Study the Warburg Effect

Belgian scientists Veerle Janssens, Wim Versées and Johan Thevelein from VIB, KU Leuven, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel had first begun researching about sugar’s potential link to cancer in 2008 in an attempt to understand the Warburg Effect.

The Warburg Effect: First observed in 1924 by Otto Warburg, the Warburg Effect is a prominent feature of cancerous cells and if often put to use to detect brain tumors.

In simple terms, tumor cells make energy by rapidly breaking down proteins, which is not seen in normal cells. It is this energy that is fueling the growth of tumors.

The Study

For their research, scientists used yeast as a model organism as, like cancer cells, it employs a similar mechanism to produce energy from sugar- through fermentation.

Yeast also contains the ‘Ras’ proteins that are also found in cancer.

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Ras proteins are known to control the growth of cells in our body. If the genes that control Ras proteins mutate, they can cause an increased cell growth and an intensive production of cancer cells.

Thus, using yeast, the Belgian researchers analyzed the link between high sugar metabolism and Ras.

What Did The Study Reveal?

All cells in the body require sugar, but research has found that cancerous cells consume more sugar when compared to normal cells, breaking it down into glucose, which is then fermented into lactic acid. It is this fermentation that aids the spread of the tumor.

Previously, it was a topic of debate whether Warburg Effect was a symptom of cancer or a cause of cancer. The new study has revealed that it actually aids and stimulates cancerous tumors. However, this does not necessarily mean that sugar is causing cancer.

Explaining the “strength of the Warburg effect and tumor aggressiveness”, the study explains the consequences of the interaction of cancerous cells with sugar.

While these findings are monumental, scientists are not calling it a medical breakthrough. According to Prof. Johan Thevelein from KU Leuven in Belgium, the study will provide a foundation for future cancer research which will hopefully yield precise results.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 

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Girls may inherit ovarian cancer gene from fathers

The researchers collected information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers and sequenced portions of the X-chromosome from 186 women affected by cancer

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A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer's age of onset by more than six years. Wikimedia Commons
A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer's age of onset by more than six years. Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have found a gene responsible for ovarian cancer that can be passed down from fathers to their daughters.

The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls.

A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer’s age of onset by more than six years.

“Our study may explain why we find families with multiple affected daughters: because a dad’s chromosomes determine the sex of his children, all of his daughters have to carry the same X-chromosome genes,” said Kevin H.

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Eng, Assistant Professor at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Buffalo, the US.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, stated that the genetic mutation inherited from the paternal grandmothers were also associated with higher rates of prostate cancer in fathers and sons as well.

The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons
The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons

The researchers collected information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers and sequenced portions of the X-chromosome from 186 women affected by cancer.

The results proposed that a gene on the X-chromosome may contribute to a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, independently of other known susceptibility genes, such as the BRCA genes.

This observation suggests that there may be many cases of seemingly sporadic ovarian cancer that are actually inherited, and may lead to improved cancer screening and better genetic risk assessment.

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However, future studies will be needed to confirm the identity and function of this gene.

“What we have to do next is make sure we have the right gene by sequencing more families. This finding has sparked a lot of discussion within our group about how to find these X-linked families,” Eng said.

“It’s an all-or-none kind of pattern: A family with three daughters who all have ovarian cancer is more likely to be driven by inherited X mutations than by BRCA mutations,” Eng noted. (IANS)