December 11, 2023

A common natural sugar could play a role in boosting cancer treatments like chemotherapy, scientists have discovered. Mannose was found to trigger a “bee syndrome” in cancer cells, which slows the growth of cancer cells and makes them more vulnerable to attack.

Mannose, found in many fruits and naturally in the human body, performs an important process called glycosylation, which stabilizes the structure of proteins and helps them interact with other molecules.

So far, it has not found many medical applications other than restoring glycation in patients with rare diseases in which the glycosylation process malfunctions. Previous research has shown that mannose can slow the growth of certain cancers, but it was unclear how this happened. So for the new study, scientists at Sanford Burnham Preby College and the International Cancer Institute in Osaka set out to investigate. Oddly, the team had a hunch that had something to do with how the bees reacted to it.

Hudson Freeze, co-author of the study, said: “Mannose has been known for more than a century to be lethal to bees because they cannot process mannose in the same way humans do, which is known as ‘bee synthesis. syndrome’.” “We wanted to see if there was any relationship between bee syndrome and the cancer-fighting properties of mannose, which could lead to a whole new approach to fighting cancer.”

The researchers performed experiments on human fibrosarcoma cells, a rare form of connective tissue cancer. These cells have been engineered to carefully control their mannose metabolism. Sure enough, they found that if the cells lacked the enzyme that metabolizes mannose, their replication slowed down, making them more susceptible to chemotherapy.

“We found that inducing bee syndrome in these cancer cells made them unable to synthesize the building blocks of DNA and replicate normally,” Freeze said. “This helps explain the anticancer effects of mannose that we observed in the laboratory.”

Using mannose as an adjuvant treatment for cancer should have few side effects, as it is already common in humans, the team said. However, more work is still needed to determine which types of cancer it works best for.

The study was published in the journal electronic life.

source: Sanford Burnham Prebys