Breakthrough: Link between glucose and cancer cells

glucosecancerA research team based on Madrid, Spain from the National Center of Oncological Investigations has confirmed that the energy blockade of cancers could enhance the antitumor effect of the taxanes, such as taxol, or other antitumor agents. This means that the “need” of glucose by cancer cells can be a potential window to a possible way to fight cancer cells directly.

It has long been known that cancer cells become “addicted” to glucose, which is used as usual source of energy to grow and develop; however, in spite of the fact that this remark was made more than nine decades, today there is no therapeutic strategy that effectively take advantage of this special energy need. The initial approach seems simple: a lack of glucose could induce the death of tumor cells in a specific manner.

This potential approach to fighting cancer cells is still in development, but the advancements and results gathered by the research team of international scientists in Spain, can be a turning point in the way we consider and treat cancer. The research team, directed by Dr. Marcos Malumbres, has shown that the lock of the glycolysis, a molecular mechanism that allows you to extract the energy from glucose, is especially damaging in the division of tumor cells. They also have discovered that a specific action on energy this particularity may be effective for the treatment of cancer in combination with chemotherapeutic agents such as taxol.

Coming from the basis that tumor cells need more glucose when they are treated with taxol, the inhibition of glycolysis should to potentiate the effect of the anticarcinogenic drugs. In some way, it would be like forcing the machine to need more glucose, and at the same time prevent the use; thus, the tumor cells would die of starvation by not being able to get energy to do its vital functions. The research teams tested this theory by attacking cancer cell (of a similar model of breast cancer) in mice and were overall successful.

This major breakthrough has gotten the attention of the medical community. Of course, lead researchers for this study have claimed that they are only at the tip of the iceberg and that further tests on different types of cancer cells need to be tested. The involvement of scientists in many parts of the world will definitely help speed things up as we could be at the threshold of a possible cure for cancer.

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