Navigation Links
Specific sugar molecule causes growth of cancer cells
Date:9/16/2013

In co-operation with a research group from Singapore, scientists at University of Copenhagen have shown that immature sugar molecules in the form of truncated O-glycans aid growth properties of cancer cells. Previously, scientists have not been able to decode the significance of these truncated O-glycans, and therefore, the results, which were recently published in the journal PNAS, represent an important contribution to understanding the growth of cancer cells as well as the work towards developing a cure that can limit or stop the growth.

Catharina Steentoft, PhD student at Copenhagen Center for Glycomics and one of the scientists behind the results, stresses that this is basic science and there is still a long way from the results to actually developing a treatment or using them for diagnostic purposes. The results are still a cause for optimism, though.

"This is part of how we will proceed in the battle against cancer. When you know a certain process is important for the development of cancer you can start to consider ways to affect this process in a way that stops the cancer cell from taking advantage of it," explains Catharina Steentoft.

Sugar molecules affect proteins

Sugar molecules play an important role in almost all of the processes taking place in the body. One of the ways in which sugar molecules affect us is through glycosylation, a process where sugar molecules are attached to proteins. The proteins are basically the building bricks of the body, whilst sugar molecules affect the proteins, and therefore play a significant role in the human organism. A flaw in a chain of sugar molecules can lead to protein malfunctioning and disease.

As early as 1982, scientists around the world realised the importance of sugar molecules for cancer. The American doctor and scientist Georg F. Springer discovered that a certain type of sugar molecules, the truncated O-glycans, were particularly prominent in cancer cells. The discovery of Catharina Steentoft and colleagues builds on the foundation of this knowledge.

Pinpointing ways to proceed

For 30 years, scientists all over the world have worked on using the truncated O-glycans as biomarkers for diagnostics and outcome-prediction, but now the group of researchers from Singapore and Copenhagen has finally pinpointed the significance of these sugar molecules that they actually cause the cancer cells to grow and the cancer to spread more aggressively.

"We have now taken the first step towards understanding how cancer cells can change their glycosylation and produce these truncated O-glycans. It is a rather big step forward since it gives us an entirely new understanding of something we have worked many years to grasp. It guides our entire field of research towards new ways to proceed in the battle against cancer," Catharina Steentoft says.

Facts about sugar

Researchers agree that the significance of sugar molecules for living organisms is huge, but so far there is not a lot of knowledge about the whys and hows. For that reason, Copenhagen Center for Glycomics was created in 2012 headed by professor Henrik Clausen. Catharina Steentoft and her co-workers at the center study what is known as the third language of life (genes being the first, proteins being the second), the sugar molecules that coat the surface of proteins and cells.


'/>"/>

Contact: Catharina Steentoft
steentoft@sund.ku.dk
45-61-67-58-16
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Beyond the microscope: Identifying specific cancers using molecular analysis
2. Manipulation of a specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates
3. Research identifies specific bacteria linked to indoor water-damage and mold
4. Transgenic technique to eliminate a specific neural circuit of the brain in primates
5. Infants exposed to specific molds have higher asthma risk
6. Specific toxic byproduct of heat-processed food may lead to increased body weight and diabetes
7. Site-specific, long-term research expanding understanding of climate change
8. Bisphenol A affects sex-specific reproductive behaviors in a monogamous animal species
9. Molecular basis identified for tissue specific immune regulation in the eye and kidney
10. In autism, age at diagnosis depends on specific symptoms
11. Cutting specific pollutants would slow sea level rise
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... , ,The global gait biometrics market is expected ... the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates ... be used to compute factors that are not ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Founder of ... board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand by the National Board of ... to going above and beyond in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lady had been battling arthritis since ... ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah sought the help of Dr Jeff ... surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help with the pain of Lady’s arthritis. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Last week, Callan Capital, ... executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego Life Science event at the ... life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, former CEO of ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE ... announced that its Board of Directors has approved the payment ... quarter of 2016. The cash dividend of ... 29, 2016 to stockholders of record as of the close ... are subject to approval of the Board of Directors and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: