ANCHOR LEAD: CANCER CELLS ARE BETTER AT FEEDING THEMSELVES THAN NORMAL CELLS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Cancer cells are better equipped to survive in the harsh conditions seen in the vicinity of a tumor than normal cells, Johns Hopkins research led by Nickolas Papadoupolos has found, and that’s because mutations have enabled the cells to be much more adept at scavenging glucose, or sugar molecules, to feed themselves than normal cells.
PAPADOUPOLOS: So what the adaptation of the cancer cells was was to increase the production of a protein called glut-1. Which is a protein that actually transports sugar inside the cell, and although the nutrients are scarce now they can actually use that to grow. That gives an advantage over the normal cells that are around them that they cannot do that. :23
Papadoupolos says that glut-1 is a logical target for intervention as a means to starve cancer cells specifically and perhaps eliminate tumors. Such a strategy should also spare normal cells since they aren’t using this pathway. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.