WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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healthy test subjects sweet drinks as part of their diet, there was an increase in the type of cholesterol that can clog arteries. Another local researcher who believes the amount of sugar we eat can cause major health concerns is Dr. Lewis Cantley, a pro- fessor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center. More than 20 years ago, he discov- ered a gene called P13K that regulates the ability of cancer cells to use sugar for tumor growth. Recently, drugs that target P13K have entered clinical trials, and some responses in early phase clinical trials have been very encouraging. A nationally recognized expert in his field, Dr. Cantley says that his extensive research shows that eating sugar can impact cancer two ways. Sugar stimulates the production of insulin, and some common cancers, includ- ing breast, endometrial, and colon cancers, have tumors with insulin receptors on their surfaces. An increase in insulin triggers these receptors and, by activating P13K, signals the tumor to start consuming the sugar glucose, which causes a tumor to grow. So, the more sugar we eat, the more insulin we produce, and the more we can cause an existing tumor to grow. Basically, says Dr. Cantley, "If you're con- suming a lot of sugar over a day, your insulin levels would be much higher than someone who didn't. This could drive an early stage progression of cancer cells." 141 fall 2012 | WellesleyWeston Magazine

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