Wednesday August 15, 2018

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.

ALSO READ Sweet Tooth? Curb your Sugar Cravings with 7 Simple Steps!

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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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)