To understand what this 9 year scientific study clarifies first you must have in mind the following 4 facts:
- Every cell in the body needs sugar to survive.
- Cancer cells produce energy differently from normal cells. (fermentation of glucose)
- Cancer cells require more sugar than healthy cells do.
- Cancer cells break sugar down faster. (Warburg effect)
Is this phenomenon (Warburg effect) related to how aggressively tumors grow?
“Our research reveals how the hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth…Thus, it is able to explain the correlation between the strength of the Warburg effect and tumor aggressiveness. 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.”
Professor Johan Thevelein, from Belgium’s VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology said in statement.
This project was started in 2008 under the leadership of Johan Thevelein (VIB-KU Leuven), Wim Versées (VIB-VUB) and Veerle Janssens (KU Leuven). The main concept of this study is based on the fact that researchers found out that yeast actually produces energy from sugar via fermentation exactly as cancer cells do. Also yeast contains the “Ras” proteins that are found in cancer. So they used it.
“We observed in yeast that sugar degradation is linked via the intermediate fructose 1,6-biophosphate to the activation of Ras proteins, which stimulate the multiplication of both yeast and cancer cells. It is striking that this mechanism has been conserved throughout the long evolution of yeast cell to human.” Professor Johan Thevelein
The results of this study clarify the link between metabolic deviation and oncogenic potency in cancerous cells that simply means that sugar awakens cancer cells. This may bring a huge impact on tailor-made diets for cancer patients. However, it is still unclear whether this effect is a symptom of cancer, or a cause.