In healthy cells, mitochondria, known as the “powerhouse” of the cell, convert glucose into the energy that keeps the cell alive and functioning. Cancerous cells have a much higher demand for glucose than healthy cells, and use a faster and more powerful process to metabolize glucose. This process, known as the Warburg effect, was named after Otto Warburg, who discovered it more than 50 years ago. The salient feature of this method is that it does not involve the mitochondria to generate energy for the cell.
It has been suggested that the unique way cancer cells fulfill their large glucose requirements may allow for the development of drugs that specifically target and disrupt the Warburg effect, without affecting healthy cells. Many experimental drugs are currently being tested that seek to exploit this effect.
One of these ideas is bearing fruit, as demonstrated in a study by scientists at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, published in the journal Cancer Research.
The research team sought to establish whether oncolytic viruses, which are designed to specifically enter cancerous cells and destroy them without harming the surrounding tissue, are more effective when the cancer cell’s supply of glucose is restricted.
Using cells from ovarian, lung and colon tumors to test their hypothesis, the authors ran a series of tests on animals, which allowed them to conclude that, “Restricting the amount of sugar available to cancer cells makes these cancer-attacking oncolytic viruses work even better.”
One of the important aspects of using oncolytic viruses to attack cancer cells as opposed to standard drug therapies is that once these viruses enter cancer cells, they begin to reproduce, causing their effect to become more powerful over time. This is in stark contrast to standard cancer drug therapies, whose effect diminishes with time.
New attacks against the fundamental diseases and illnesses that plague us, especially in our later years, are being discovered at a rapid rate. Slowly but surely we are wending our way toward a cure for many of the health problems we currently face.
In the meantime, we can help ourselves by obtaining the best possible care in our older years. At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.
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