Summary: “Scientists have observed for more than 70 years that most types of cancer cells are sugar junkies,” begins this synopsis of the famous 1998 study by Dr. Chi Dang of Johns Hopkins University showing that depriving cancer cells of sugar can cause them to self destruct. “When we remove glucose from…cancer cells,” Dr. Dang says, “they commit suicide, basically, as compared with normal cells.” This finding echoes the earlier work of Dr. Daniel T. Quigley, a cancer-expert in Omaha, Nebraska, who years earlier warned of the dangers of a diet high in refined sugar. (See what Dr. Royal Lee had to say about Dr. Quigley and starving glucose out of the body here and here.) For the official Johns Hopkins press release of Dr. Dang’s study, see “Cancer Cells Self-Destruct When ‘Sweet Tooth’ is Thwarted” in these archives. From Johns Hopkins University, 1998.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
Johns Hopkins: Scientists Trying to Starve Cancer Cells to Death
February 17, 1998
Baltimore (John Hopkins)—Scientists have observed for more than 70 years that most types of cancer cells are sugar junkies, relying heavily on glucose to produce energy and multiply. Today’s improved understanding of cancer genetics allows researchers, for the first time, the real possibility of cutting off that sugar fix and kicking cancer cells where it hurts most.
In a study at Johns Hopkins, researchers exposed cancerous mice cells to a compound called 2-deoxyglucose. It resembles sugar, but when cells absorb it, it disrupts the process that allows its conversion to energy.
“We asked whether, by perturbing the use of glucose, can we actually kill cancer cells, because they switch on this pathway,” says Dr. Chi Dang, Johns Hopkins Director of Hematology and the study’s lead author. “In fact, when we remove glucose from these cells, they commit suicide, basically, as compared with normal cells.”
The problem is that the brain needs glucose to function properly—lots of it. The challenge is thus working out a delivery system that does not block sugar to healthy cells that need it while denying it to cancerous cells in order to kill them off.
Copyright The Johns Hopkins University, 1998. All rights reserved. Author unknown.