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

ancer 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.


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

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