Scientists Look for Ways to Disable Sugar Molecule That Fuels Cancer Persistence

Even though there are several treatments that can be used to fight cancer and prolong a cancer patient’s life, the disease has no cure. For the longest time, scientists have been trying to find treatments that could completely eradicate cancer cells without the side effects typically associated with conventional cancer treatments, but no success has been registered.

Recent research from the University of Basel has revealed that abnormal cancer cells specifically use sugar molecules on their surface to defend themselves against the immune system. According to University of Basel researchers, this mechanism can nullify this mechanism and make cancer cells much more susceptible to attacks from the immune system.

Cancer cells have developed a sneaky trick that allows them to evade the immune system much of time. Every healthy cell in the body is equipped with special safety features that allow the immune system to spot abnormal cells whenever they pop up and prevent them from attacking healthy cells.

Abnormal cancer cells have the ability to manipulate these mechanisms so that the immune system sees them as healthy cells. In recent years, scientists have developed immunotherapies that successfully target cancer cells by preventing them from evading the immune system.

Professor Heinz Läubli from the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine and the University Hospital Bass notes that immunotherapy has only been modestly successful against certain tumors. As such, he and his team were looking for a treatment that could deal with the anti-immune response triggered by cancer cells more effectively.

He and his team found that altering the sugar molecules on the surface of abnormal cancer cells in mice allowed for a much more significant immune response against the tumors. Cancer cells are able to trick macrophages into thinking they are immune cells by boosting the concentration of sugar molecules on their surface.

Läubli and his team proved that these sugar molecules could be reduced or removed entirely from the surface of cancer cells, ridding them of their ability to trick macrophages and avoid the watchful eye of the immune system.

The researchers leveraged precise analysis techniques to determine the exact receptor in the mice that recognized sialic acid sugars produced by sugar molecules on the surface of cancer cells. Identifying a similar receptor in humans could allow for the development of treatments that target cancer cells by helping the immune system.

Läubli noted that the next step is to find a way to successfully remove sialic sugars from cancer cells and their surroundings, with minimum side effects. The segment of organ-specific cancer treatments is also being advanced by companies that are developing drugs specifically tailored to treat brain cancers, such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP).

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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