Suffocating, Sugar-Addicted Cancers

Life is tough when you are a fast growing-cancer, because your host has difficulty meeting your increasing needs for oxygen. You can cope by stimulating your host to grow more blood vessels to carry oxygen to you or by metastastising your cells to oxygen sources elsewhere in the body. But some hypoxic cancers have an even more impressive trick up their sleeve when they can’t enough oxygen: They switch their energy supply over to glycolosis (The breaking down of glucose).

The advantage of glycolosis to otherwise suffocating cancer cells is that oxygen is no longer needed. The disadvantage is that clever researchers can fix your location by looking at sugar absorption rates within your host’s body.

Dr. Kristin Sainani relates the fascinating science of hypoxic cancer cells in this month’s Stanford Magazine.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

One thought on “Suffocating, Sugar-Addicted Cancers”

  1. I wonder whether a ketogenic diet would be helpful in combating hypoxic cancers.

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