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According to the CDC, next to non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, as well as one of the leading cause of death among men of all races.
That’s because while localized tumors of the prostate gland are considered very treatable, once prostate cancer metastasizes, which occurs in approximately 20 percent of men, all bets are off.
Sadly, for too long, doctors have been working blind, not really understanding why and how these tumors spread or having a clear answer to stop it.
But that’s all changed thanks to ground-breaking research from the Medical University of Vienna, where researchers have discovered both the pathway behind prostate cancer progression and a means to put a halt to tumor growth in a diabetes drug that millions already take.
Decoding cancer’s cellular signal pathway
To do so, the team used a complex mouse model, which allowed them to examine prostate cancer cells and identify the key factors in the regulation of tumor cell growth, as well as the way they interact with each other.
What they found is that a protein signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (also known as STAT3) plays the leading role. And they discovered that the activation of STAT3 by another protein called interleukin 6 (IL6) can work as a cancer protectant.
“Interestingly, our study showed for the first time that permanent activation of STAT3 prevents the development of prostate cancer as well as the development and spread of metastases. Conversely, we discovered that the loss of the signal pathway between STAT3 and IL6 in the prostate can lead to massive tumor growth and metastasis, which significantly increases the aggressiveness of the cancer and the mortality rate,” explained lead investigator Lukas Kenner.
The research proved that when STAT3 is activated, proteins known as LKB1/pAMPK increase. These proteins are capable of blocking certain cancer molecules, which actually stop a tumor from growing.
And that’s where the research really pays off…
Glucose and cancer
That’s because not only do those proteins inhibit cancer growth, they also are responsible for the regulation of glucose metabolism — a fact which led the scientists to pit a common diabetes drug, metformin, against prostate cancer.
And sure enough, when it came to cancer, it was blood sugar control for the win!
The team discovered that taking metformin can significantly slow the progression of STAT3-positive prostate cancer.
“As metformin is already available, our research findings could be useful in developing new treatment options for patients with STAT3-positive prostate cancer in the foreseeable future,” said Kenner.
Of course, this comes as no surprise to those of us who have been following the cancer-sugar connection for any amount of time.
In fact, it’s been over 90 years since Otto Warburg first exposed sugar’s cancer-causing secret.
And numerous studies have linked reducing sugar, such as through the keto diet, to anti-cancer effects.
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