In what could prove to be a groundbreaking study, a nine-year joint research project looking into the effects of sugar on cancer has just proven some startling results. A team from KU Leuven in Belgium have discovered the correlation between the effects that sugar has on cancer cells as opposed to healthy cells. Centered around something called the Warburg effect, first discovered in 1924 by Nobel laureate Otto Heinrich Warburg, the premise revolves around the hypothesis that all cells derive their energy from some form of sugar and that cancerous cells have a higher demand for glucose.
According to lead researcher Johan Thevelein, the study has definitively proven the biological mechanism behind the cancer’s aggressive growth and its need for glucose, pointing out, “Our research reveals how the hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth,” Going on to say, “This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences. Our results provide a foundation for future research in this domain, which can now be performed with a much more precise and relevant focus.”
The team used yeast cells to run this study, the reason being that these cells contain the same ‘Ras’ proteins commonly found in tumor cells, which can cause cancer in mutated form. But much better because the yeast cells don’t behave like normal mammalian cells, allowing for a much clearer insight into how cancerous cells function. The researchers found that glucose caused the Ras proteins to over-activate leading to growth acceleration. This gives new hope to the idea around starving cancer cells of sugar and the effect certain diets might have on cancer patients.
More of the report can be found here.