This is Part 6 in our series on cancer. If you have not been following I would suggest that you go to archives and start from Part 1 this will make each succeeding segment understandable.

There are some common denominators to all forms of life such as DNA which lays the groundwork as the master plan and energy in the form of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. This energy is generated in two pathways in the cell. Remember without this generation of energy, cells cannot function. One pathway is fermentation also called glycolysis. Through a series of steps utilizing the breakdown of sugars that we eat into glucose (this level is measured in routine blood test), glycolysis breaks down glucose and forms pyruvate with the production of two molecules of ATP. Pyruvate which is the end product of glycolysis can be used in either anaerobic respiration if no oxygen is available or in aerobic respiration. Let’s give a practical example. When doing an aerobic exercise meaning, using oxygen, the cells make more energy, if you working out so hard that even energy cannot be made fast enough using oxygen, the cell will go through a fermentation process which is less efficiently and the by product is lactic acid which causes a burning effect with your muscles.

Cancer cells use this fermentation process. Rather than closing the doorway into the cancer cell for this fermentation process, it is stuck in the open position thus allowing this fermentation process to continue abnormally. It was established far back in 1978 that cancer cells had far less mitochondria ( energy battery of cells) than normal cells. Thus the ability for cancer cells to survive on their own was difficult. But by using a certain enzyme and changing it, this would keep the doors open as we previously saw and utilize a fermentation process for its own survival.

But the body has a unique process called cell apoptosis which basically are soldiers that take down abnormal cells like the Navy Seals! But this is a highly regulated mechanism for if too many cells are killed conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease can happen. If not enough cells are targeted and cells begin to grow then cancer cells can be generated.

What was happening with cancer cells was that by changing the enzyme hexokinase into hexokinase 2 this closed the door for apoptosis or cell death, thus cancer cells would keep reproducing. This same enzyme would steal glucose for its own appetite thus allowing it to survive.

In Part seven we will solely concentrate on the mitochondria and its role in cancer and how can we keep them healthy.

 

Coming soon “Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease is there a benefit’?