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Can Blocking Sugar Layer Formation Over Cells Treat Metastasis and Infections

Cell communication plays a vital role in spreading of ailments inside our body. Bacteria and Cancer cells rely heavily on their unique communication mechanisms to remain covert and spread the diseases. Drugs and treatment techniques try to inhibit these mechanisms in order to address the ailments. Many cells are covered by a coating of sugar over them. This sugar coating plays a vital role in cell communication. For the first time, Scientists at the University of East Anglia, have discovered a molecule which can effectively inhibit the formation of sugar layers over the cells. This technique is believed to open up novel ways of developing anti-cancer and anti-infective drugs in future. The results of the findings are published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. This article tries to gains further insight on this topic.

Knowledge Gained from the Research:

  • Functions inside the human body are primarily chemical reactions.
  • There are several compounds released and absorbed in the due process.
  • Enzymes are naturally occurring chemical substances which act as catalysts in speeding up these chemical reactions.
  • In this way, they play an important role in determining the outcome of bodily chemical reactions.
  • Glycosyltransferases are a group of such enzymes used by cells to convert simple sugar into long sugar chains and structures while forming the layers.
  • The researchers discovered new molecules which were built from a natural product called UDP-Galactose.
  • This molecule is found to inhibit the activity of Glycosyltransferases enzymes.
  • These molecules are therefore believed by the researchers to be used to interfere with harmful biological processes such as bacterial infection and cancer metastasis and treat them effectively.

Significance of this Research: More than bacterial infection, the challenge of developing techniques to inhibit metastasis is a big task for cancer researchers. Metastasis is the technical name given to the spread of cancer tumour cells to the remote unaffected parts of the body. It is this process which makes the cancer disease incurable. Common treatment techniques like Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy can only be effective when undergone before the metastasis stage. The present technique is expected to address the menace of metastasis at a fundamental level.

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