Warburg Effect: Sugar-Tagging Helps Target Drug Compounds to Human Prostate Cancer Cells Due to Their Increased Glucose Consumption to Feed Their Chosen Glycolysis Pathway; Analog of Sea Urchin Pigment Coupled to Sugar Via Sulfur Link

Scientists of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in Vladivostok, Russia, together with German and Russian colleagues, have developed a lead compound to fight chemotherapy-resistant prostate cancer. The original design came when scientists combined biologically active molecules from the chemically-modified pigment of sea urchins with glucose molecules to deliver the active drug substance into tumor cells. The Russian-German scientific paper was recognized as a best research article of the current issue of Marine Drugs. The article was published online on May 11, 2020, and is titled “Inspired by Sea Urchins: Warburg Effect Mediated Selectivity of Novel Synthetic Non-Glycoside 1,4-Naphthoquinone-6S-Glucose Conjugates in Prostate Cancer.” In their efforts in research to develop a cure for prostate cancer, the scientists decided to capitalize on the Warburg effect, which is the term used for tumor cells’ inclination to consume large amounts of "sugar,” i.e., they consume glucose compounds more intensively compared to the majority of normal cells. [Editor’s Note: The phenomenon of high sugar consumption by tumor cells is known as the Warburg effect. It results from a high glycolysis rate, used by tumors as a preferred metabolic pathway even in aerobic conditions.] The researchers believed that targeting the Warburg effect to specifically deliver sugar-conjugated cytotoxic compounds into tumor cells is a promising approach to create new selective drugs.
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