Glucose may have a positive role in the fight against cancer

May 31 2017 - 6:20am

Researchers say glucose may have a significant role in the fight against cancer and inflammatory disease.

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Glucose

Glucose is a simple sugar which generally has a bad reputation due to its association with obesity and diabetes. However there may be a positive role for glucose in the fight against cancer according to new research.

Previous research has shown that exercise and many fruits such as strawberries, vegetables such as broccoli, and nuts may benefit the fight against cancer. Now it appears glucose may have a vital role too.

MedicalXpress
reports that glucose has turned out not to be such a simple sugar after all which may benefit the fight against cancer and inflammatory disease. Researchers say glucose has been found to stimulate cells which work on the front line in the struggle against tumors and infection.

Immune cells become dysfunctional when they are starved of glucose

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Glucose is generated from the food which we consume. This important fuel is used by our bodies when energy is generated from it in cells. This is vital for cell growth and division. During an immune response such as when we respond to an infection the cells which make up our immune system become extremely active. There is a high demand for glucose by our cells at this time. Immune cells become dysfunctional when they are starved of glucose such as may be seen with a tumor.

Dendritic cells become better at stimulating the vital players which are involved in the immune response when they are starved of glucose

New research which was led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has showed that there is a difference with the immune cells which monitor our bodies to pick up signs of danger. When these dendritic cells are starved of glucose it has been observed they become better at stimulating the vital players which are involved in the immune response.

David Finlay, who is an Assistant Professor in Cancer Biology, led the team which did this research which has been published in the journal, Nature Communications. The researchers have found there is an association between depletion of glucose in pathological microenvironments and defective immune responses. However dendritic cells really are better at stimulating immune responses when they starved of glucose. This finding has opens up new considerations for therapies for cancers and other immune associated diseases.

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