A research project into how the Warburg effect, a phenomenon which causes cancer cells to break down sugar, has confirmed that it can cause an increase in tumor growth. The evidence of the study shows that there’s strong correlation between sugar and cancer, which could have a beneficial effect when planning the diets of cancer patients. The study suggests that sugar could play a key part in the growth of cancer tumors, and scientists are considering the possibility that a low sugar diet could help to reduce the prevalence of cancer.
A better insight into the effects of sugar on cancer cells
The aim of the research is to give a better insight into how cancer might develop and grow in humans. The results show that yeast with high levels of glucose, can over stimulate some of the proteins found in human tumors. This can lead to increased growth rates and cancer spreading faster. The evidence also suggests that tumor cells produce energy through the breakdown of glucose – this is not seen in normal human cells.
The study into the Warburg Effect was started in 2008 by researchers Johan Thevelein, Wim Versées and Veerle Janssens, and was conducted by VIB (a life sciences research institute), KU Leuven and Vrije Universiteit. Thevelein said in a release of research that “The research 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.”
Thevelein also claimed following the study that – “The findings are not sufficient to identify the primary cause of the Warburg effect further research is needed to find out whether this primary cause is also conserved in yeast cells.”The results of the research are helpful to scientists in establishing the connection between sugar and cancer cells, and how diet can impact the growth of cells. However, it doesn’t provide solid proof that a low sugar diet will prevent cancer or reduce rates.
American Cancer Society researcher, Victoria Stevens, commented that the research gave good evidence into the effects of sugar, and can help scientists to make progress when it comes to finding new cancer treatments. However she comments that “about one product made during the breakdown of glucose to produce energy. They are providing a potential way (the Warburg effect) could be a cause of cancer, but they are a long way away from saying this could actually happen,”