The process of glycosylation, where sugar molecules are attached to proteins, has long been of interest to scientists, particularly because certain sugar molecules are present in very high numbers in cancer cells. It now turns out that these sugar molecules are not only present but actually aid the growth of the malignant cells. In the long term this discovery is an important step towards a cure that can stop the growth of cancer cells. Catharina Steentoft, PhD student at Copenhagen Center for Glycomics and one of the scientists behind the results, stresses that this is basic science and there is still a long way from the results to actually developing a treatment or using them for diagnostic purposes. The results are still a cause for optimism, though.
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