Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Article On Cancer Cells and Glucose

Just a quickie with a link to an interesting article at Science Daily. I would post more, but, unfortunately, earning a living is seriously interfering with my messing around time!

"Tumors Use Sugars To Avoid Programmed Cell Death -  Researchers at the Duke School of Medicine apparently have solved the riddle of why cancer cells like sugar so much, and it may be a mechanism that could lead to better cancer treatments.


Jonathan Coloff, a graduate student in Assistant Professor Jeffrey Rathmell's laboratory in the Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, has found that the tumor cells use glucose sugar as a way to avoid programmed cell death."

Full Article

16 comments:

Vikki said...

Thanks for the read, it's sounding more and more like the treatment for cancers is going to adopting a low carb life style. And following one now will go a long way to preventing it.

nonegiven said...

I can't seem to click on the link to the article.

Wifezilla said...

I somehow managed to link only to the "F" instead of the entire words "Full Article". All fixed now. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately a low carb diet will not prevent or treat cancer at all. Blood glucose levels are maintained by the liver and you would be in very serious trouble if they changed much....just as a diabetic. The only promise here is that drugs could be developed to interfere with glucose metabolizing enzymes....a new area that hasn't been targeted yet.

Wifezilla said...

Obesity is often sited as a risk factor in cancer. Excess insulin and blood sugar spikes cause obesity.

Low carb prevents blood glucose spikes as well as excess insulin. Insulin and insulin growth factors also effect cancer cells. Please check the other cancer posts for more information.

Here are a few other links if you are curious...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080225112604.htm
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/325/7364/566
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/13/8/1283
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/116841177/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

I also strongly recommend reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't read the articles you posted.

While it is true that nutrition in general can affect many diseases, including cancer, this study does not discuss nutrition at all. An altered diet with low sugar content will not ever reduce blood glucose to low enough levels to affect cancer cells. I wish it were true, but its not. The hope from this study is that the specific reason that low glucose can kill cells will be identified, and a drug to mimic that affect could be developed.

Wifezilla said...

Here they are again using tiny URL so they don't get clipped...
http://tinyurl.com/54qkpg
http://tinyurl.com/69r9jq
http://tinyurl.com/54qkpg
http://tinyurl.com/57tos3

If you are not ingesting glucose in the form of sugar and carbs, your body switches it fuel source to ketone bodies. Cancer can't use ketone bodies to grow and spread. There is already evidence that a diet low in carbs and high in fat can shrink tumors. Like I said, check my other cancer posts.

"Ketone bodies, consisting of acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate (β-OHB) are derived from fat catabolism in the liver and their concentration in blood is inversely related to that of glucose"
http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/30

Anonymous said...

In the work presented by the authors of the original study, they used complete glucose withdrawal in cells in tissue culture. Our bodies maintain glucose levels in the blood even when we're not eating carbs by breaking down glycogen and then via gluconeogenesis when glycogen is gone. Under conditions of extreme starvation, our brains can use ketone bodies instead of glucose for energy. That said, it would be very, very dangerous to starve yourself of glucose to treat cancer. I would argue that it might be impossible to get blood glucose levels low enough to actually have an effect. Also, at the same time, normal cells (especially in the brain) would also be hurting without sufficient glucose.

It is interesting work as far as potential drug targets go (a lot of "drug-able" targets), but I don't think it has much to do with diet....even though nutrition can affect cancer development in certain circumstances (e.g. obesity).

Wifezilla said...

Ketone bodies are ALSO produced with a low carbohydrate diet, not just during starvation. (Interestingly enough, fasting is ALSO being studied as an aid to chemo treatment. [Science Daily] )

This post was just one of several dealing with this topic. I can tell from your comments that you did not avail yourself of the additional information. You also need to educate yourself on low carbohydrate diets. You are working off some very bad information.

The brain functions quite well on ketone bodies. A ketogenic diet (besides helping people lose weight, treat type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, etc...) is also used as a treatment for drug resistant seizure disorders.

Again, Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes will bring you up to speed in no time.

Anonymous said...

You're correct in that I don't know much about low-carb or keto diets, but I am certain that blood glucose never fall far below normal. If there is extreme hypoglycemia and blood glucose falls below 1mM, the most likely affect will be a coma and potential for severe brain damage. Ketone bodies cannot replace glucose for any extended period.

I do not doubt that low-carb diets (possibly chronic blood glucose on the lower level of normal) could potentially have positive effects. I'm just saying that zero glucose, like is required to kill these cells, would not happen under any diet condition, short of complete starvation for an extended period.

Yumicho said...

If you're truly interested, Anonymous, then there's a lot of work out there that indicates that a lot of cancers, especially the ones that people die from, need a high level of dietary sugar to grow. In fact, in the 1920s, a German scientist named Otto Warburg won a Nobel prize because of his work with cancer. At the time he believed that dietary sugars actually caused cancer.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html

Even if we don't totally understand the science behind it, it appears that the more sugar or starch a society consumes, the higher their cancer rate. I highly recommend Taubes' book on dietary science, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

A simple question: How low do blood glucose levels get while on a low-carb, carb free, or keto-genic diet? Look it up.

Yumicho said...

Actually, we know that blood glucose levels actually stabilize. Hypoglycaemia is usually a step in the process of insulin resistance that comes from eating too much sugar. Many people on low carb test their own blood sugar because many of us are or were diabetic.

That "blood sugar" isn't what your body and (and likely most cancers) use for fuel, but the end product of biochemical processes that are a reaction to what you eat.

I am in ketosis. My blood sugar, if I were to read it, would be within regular parameters. My body is controlling the glucose levels properly. That doesn't mean my body is using sugar for fuel, but breaks down the proteins and fats I use in a longer process for fuel. Cancers do not have the option of converting ketone bodies for fuels.

Let us know if you've looked over the information provided and/or started Taubes' book!

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Most tissues and cells in your body can use fuels other than glucose, such as proteins (amino acids) and fats. Our brains, however, can't. This is why our body is so good at maintain blood glucose...for the brain. When no carbs (glucose) are being consumed, first glycogen stores are released, and then the body (mostly in the liver) starts to make glucose for the brain via gluconeogenesis. This means it converts the amino acids and fats into glucose, which then get pumped into the blood stream to be delivered into the brain. Most tissues and cells don't utilize the glucose in order to save it for the brain. Unfortunately, the glucose is still there throughout the entire body, making it available for cancer cells to use....which they would. Therefore, the fact that the body normalizes blood glucose levels makes it impossible to starve cancer cells of glucose by altering diet.

I am actually a cancer researcher working on cancer cell metabolism, and I was interested to see how this work (the original story posted) would be accepted in the public. I am very well aware of Warburg's work, the Warburg Effect, aerobic glycolysis, and cancer cell metabolism. While Warburg's discovery and observations were exceptionally important (used in the clinic now for PET imaging), he wasn't entirely correct (its not the cause of cancer, but is clearly important in tumor biology). New research is suggesting that mitochondrial oxidation can be utilized in cancer cells, unlike previously thought (a new article in the journal Science will come out shortly about an isoform of carnitine palmitoyl transferase expressed only in cancer cells and the brain). Also, there has been some great work about pyruvate kinase isoforms expressed in cancer cells, and how this contributes to the Warburg Effect. The most current research is suggesting the increased glycolysis in cancer is used for generation of new nucleic acids and lipids necessary for rapid growth, and to inhibit cell death (as the Duke researchers suggest). A nice new review can be found by searching "Brick by brick: metabolism and tumor cell growth" in PubMed.

I think that nutrition and cancer is very interesting, and I think there may be something to changing diets to treat cancer. And while these areas are not well understood yet (see the Time article you posted), I am very interested to see how they turn out. I just don't want people to think that the Duke research suggests that you could starve a tumor of glucose by not eating any....because that is not true.

Thanks for the conversation.

Wifezilla said...

While "starving" the cancer is an oversimplification, I still stand by my stance that high insulin levels and high blood sugar contribute to cancer cell growth. Sure, I am not a scientist, but you can't just focus on cancer cells while ignore the state of the body overall.

Cancer AND heart disease AND type 2 diabetes show up in populations TOGETHER (Reference: Taubes, Good Calories Bad Calories) AFTER the introduction of refined carbohydrates and sugars. In some individuals, high carb intake leads to high blood sugar which leads to high insulin and high insulin growth factors and the body cycles between the two states. More and more information that this is tied to cancer is found every day. Here is the latest...

"A new report in Environmental Nutrition says some of the most common cancers have now been linked to insulin resistance, which is why it's important for all of us to bring this risk down.

Researchers found that an “insulin-like growth factor” can fuel cancer cells, especially the cells linked to colon, breast, endometrial, and pancreatic cancer."
http://www.13wham.com/guides/health/story.aspx?content_id=b2f4597f-b1e2-4b5c-b624-ebeffdf9671e

angel said...

Is anyone familiar with Jeremy Dean's protocol?He agrees that diet alone won't do it and has researched a treatment plan incorporating the ketogenic diet ALONG with the use of glucovance to further inhibit glucose production, a sugar analog to further kill cancer cells and baking soda to keep the boy in a non-acidic state.