MECC writes "Researchers at Johns Hopkins University may have found a way to kill cancer cells without radiation or toxic chemicals. The group is taking the step of patenting the idea, as this new approach using sugars may hold real potential for the fight against cancer. This is not the first approach to use sugars, the article states, but is (by the researchers' estimation) the most successful. From the article: 'Sampathkumar and his colleagues built upon 20-year-old findings that a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate can slow the spread of cancer cells. In the 1980s, researchers discovered that butyrate, which is formed naturally at high levels in the digestive system by symbiotic bacteria that feed on fibre, can restore healthy cell functioning ... The researchers focused on a sugar called N-acetyl-D-mannosamine, or ManNAc, for short, and created a hybrid molecule by linking ManNAc with butyrate. The hybrid easily penetrates a cell's surface, then is split apart by enzymes inside the cell. Once inside the cell, ManNAc is processed into another sugar known as sialic acid that plays key roles in cancer biology, while butyrate orchestrates the expression of genes responsible for halting the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells.'"
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