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Insight Into Sugar-Coated Cell Signalling

Author: Zhang Qing
by Zhang Qing
Posted: Aug 22, 2014

Recently, scientists find that sugar coating, which is more outstanding in cancer cells, regulate cell survivor during tumour spread. The novel study is published in the Nature journal, entitled " Cancer: Sugar-coated cell signalling".

As we know, cancer cells frequently have higher levels of glycoproteins than do healthy cells, and individual glycoproteins can transduce environmental signals that directly promote malignancy. However, glycoproteins also collectively organize into a glycocalyx. Researchers show how the physical properties of this coating regulate the clustering of cell-surface receptors and thereby affect intracellular signalling in ways that can contribute to cancer metastasis.

Zooming into the molecular level

The thickness of the glycocalyx, as demonstrated in this paper, is a crucial determinant of the spatial and temporal features of receptor–ligand interactions in cancer cell. They serves as a 'kinetic trap', generating regions on the cell surface where the likelihood of receptor–ligand interactions is increased, driving receptor clustering.

Researchers reveal that cells with a thick glycocalyx are more efficient at receiving cell-survival signals through integrins, owing to the kinetic-trap properties of the glycocalyx. This may facilitate metastatic spread by enabling cancer cells to survive in the varied tissue and fluid environments they must traverse to colonize distant organs.

Sugar-coated cells are deadly

They find that a cancer cell’s sugary outside is a crucial determinant of the cell’s survival, it turns out. Consisting of glycoproteins, the coating causes physical changes in the cell membrane that make the cell better able to thrive ­– leading to a more lethal cancer.

Existing risks

Immunotherapy is regarded as a hopeful alternative but not a "no side-effect" solution to cancer. This treatment comes with its set of side effects, which in some cases have been severe. For example, The New York Times reported that 46 people suffered serious side effects while three people died when Bristol-Myers tested its two-drug-combination therapy for advanced melanoma patients.

Tumor immunotherapy with high expectations

Goldman Sach’s 2013 list of disruptive technologies included new therapies to fight cancer, with tumor immunotherapy topping the list. The same year saw the Science Magazine, which is a weekly issue published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, label tumor immunotherapy as the "breakthrough treatment of the year."

Perhaps what makes advancements in tumor immunotherapy research even more dramatic is the fact it has the potential to treat a wide variety of tumor types. Researchers have only begun to scratch the surface, and therefore, there is no telling what the future holds as far as tumor treatment is concerned.

About the Author

Numerologist Warda is hooked on OG-L002 fishing, collecting. And lastly her encouragement comes from socializing along with her companions.

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Author: Zhang Qing

Zhang Qing

Member since: Oct 30, 2013
Published articles: 172

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