Cancer Research: Your Cells’ Sugar Diet


Kevin Yarema Has Focused Much Of His Efforts On Metabolic Glycoengineering — The Ability To Manipulate Cells’ Natural Process Of Ingesting Sugars And Converting Them Into Complex Sugar Structures That Cover The Cell Surface.

Yarema, an associate professor in Biomedical Engineering, has focused much of his efforts on metabolic glycoengineering — the ability to manipulate cells’ natural process of ingesting sugars and converting them into complex sugar structures that cover the cell surface.

“Cells can change these sugars depending on what they’re doing,” Yarema says. Similar to how people change clothes for a wedding versus playing rugby, he says, cells constantly change their sugar coatings. Cancer cells, for example, are able to use about 200 times more glucose than normal cells, which often results in different sugars displayed on their surfaces than healthy cells.

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