Mannose - a nutritional supplement - found naturally in fruits such as cranberries can aid in slowing the growth of tumours and improve cancer treatment, a study has shown.
The findings showed that mannose enhanced the effects of chemotherapy in mice with multiple types of cancer including leukaemia, osteosarcoma, ovarian and bowel cancer. It slowed tumour growth, reduced the size of tumours and even helped increase the lifespan of some mice.
Tumours use more glucose than normal, healthy tissues. However, it is very hard to control the amount of glucose in your body through diet alone. Researchers found that mannose can interfere with glucose to reduce how much sugar cancer cells can use.
"Tumours need a lot of glucose to grow, so limiting the amount they can use should slow cancer progression. The problem is that normal tissues need glucose as well, so we can't completely remove it from the body.
"In our study, we found a dosage of mannose that could block enough glucose to slow tumour growth in mice, but not so much that normal tissues were affected," said lead author Kevin Ryan, Professor at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute.