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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.

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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Next Story

New Therapy for Drug-Resistant Skin Cancer Suggested by Researchers

A team of researchers has managed to exploit a vulnerability in melanoma or skin cancer that develops resistance to a targeted therapy, providing a potential new therapeutic strategy to selectively kill the drug-resistant cancer cells.

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The reason for increased bleeding is not known. It may be because rivaroxaban is more 'potent', the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said. (IANS)
Representational image, pixabay

A team of researchers has managed to exploit a vulnerability in melanoma or skin cancer that develops resistance to a targeted therapy, providing a potential new therapeutic strategy to selectively kill the drug-resistant cancer cells.

The study has shown that when cancer cells develop drug resistance, they also acquire a new vulnerability, the Xinhua reported.

The researchers, led by Rene Bernards of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute in Denmark, exposed this new vulnerability in melanoma that has developed resistance to treatment with a BRAF inhibitor — a targeted therapy that blocks a signalling pathway in the cancer cell through which it gets the message to keep on dividing.

Since more than half of all melanoma patients have a mutation in this BRAF gene, the BRAF-inhibitor stops tumour growth in those patients.

But within a few months, the tumour cell adapts the original signalling pathway and becomes active again, and even hyperactive.

The researchers, however, found that the hyperactive resistant melanoma cells produced large amounts of reactive oxygen species, but cancer cells still sensitive to the drug did not do so.

Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells.
Representational image, pixabay

The study, published in the journal Cell, found that the abundance of free radicals caused the resistant melanoma cells to stop dividing, but they did not die.

When tested on mice along with an existing drug, vorinostat, which is known to stimulate the production of free oxygen radicals, the researchers saw tumours shrink under the influence of the drug, the report said.

This laid the foundation for a new therapeutic strategy: Treating patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma, as usual, with signal pathway inhibitors.

When the tumour becomes resistant, stop giving those inhibitors and immediately treat the patients with vorinostat to kill the resistant cancer cells.

Also Read: Leukemia Progression in Kids Can be Delayed Through Bone Density Treatment

“It is not a combination drug. It is very important that you first stop the signalling pathway inhibitors because they suppress the free radicals and thus eliminate the effects of vorinostat,” Bernards said. (IANS)