Mar 25, 2019 | Updated: 02:07 PM EDT

Sugar Tooth Cancer Cell Exposes Glucose Transporter As Medication Agent Slowing Tumor Growth

May 31, 2017 01:08 PM EDT

Sugar linked to Tumor Growth
The World Health Organisation's first global report on diabetes found that 422 million adults live with diabetes, mainly in developing countries. Australian diabetes experts are urging the Federal Government to consider imposing a sugar tax to tackle the growing problem

A study on the American consumption showed that the sugary appetite of an individual in the US tantamounts to about 75 pounds of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and sweeteners combined annually, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Certain sugar tooth cancer cells have more appetite than most of the 33 cancer types investigated by a group of researchers from the University of Texas, Dallas.

The investigating team is led by Dr. Jung Whan "Jay" Kim, senior author of the study and assistant professor of Biological Sciences from UT, Dallas. Their research of sugar tooth cancer cells was published in the online journal "Nature Communications" on May 26, 2017.

Adenocarcinoma (ADC) and the squamous carcinoma (SqCC) are the two types of lung cancer cells taken into the study. One fourth of the lung cancer cells identifies to SqCC and presents treatment difficulties with targeted medication. Kim's group, together with a Dallas high school student intern, acquired their data from the U.S. government database called the "Cancer Genome Atlas" from over 11,000 cancer patients, reports Science News Line.

Basing information from the government database, Kim and his researchers found out that there is a glucose transporter involved in the delivery of the sweet boosters to cancer cells. They named it as glucose transporter 1 or GLUT1, bringing the type of sugar to all cells which are the necessary fuel for cell metabolism. GLUT1 is also responsible for normal cell functions like building cell membranes.

Kim's team thought that the metabolic functions of both the SqCC and ADC lung cancer cells are similar, but got their surprise when they realized that the SqCC has more sugar tooth appetite than the ADC. GLUT1 is more active with SqCC while ADC is less dependent on glucose. This two types of lung cancer cells are very different as previously thought of, reports Medical Express.

Lab mice with both types of lung cancer cells confirmed on the team's experimentation. When GLUT1 inhibitors were introduced to the subjects, the squamous carcinoma diminished while the adenocarcinoma lung cancer cells were not affected by the inhibitor infusion. Eradication is incomplete but tumor growth slowed down. The result manifested that the squamous sweet tooth lung cancer cell devours sugar more than the ADC.

A separate study was also done by Lorenzo Cohen of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center showing how sugar might boost cancer growth. The research shows new evidence that some cancer cells are more dependent on sugar than others. The sweet culture of humans fuels some of the sweet tooth cancer cells. As the mice lab results show, the more sugar is ingested, the bigger the tumors become.

The mice experiment had now exposed GLUT1's potential to deliver medication and cancer cell therapies to infected tumors in general. It opened an avenue and a new approach for cancer treatment.

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