Cancer takes many different forms, making it impossible to find a single treatment that is always effective. This diversity extends to how cancerous cells fuel their proliferation, and a better understanding of these differences could help us target specific cancer types. Cells from lung squamous carcinomas (SqCC, pictured) possess very high levels of a protein found in the cell membrane, known as glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1, shown in green), compared to cells of lung adenocarcinomas. As its name suggests, GLUT1 allows glucose, a type of sugar, to move from the bloodstream into cells, where it provides energy for chemical reactions. Inhibiting GLUT1 in mouse SqCC cells causes a reduction in tumour growth, suggesting that blocking GLUT1 could be a promising idea for treating squamous carcinomas, which account for one quarter of lung cancers. Meanwhile, the tumours’ dependence on sugar raises the possibility that changes in diet could affect cancer progression.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.