Highlights:

  • mTORC1 is switched off in acidic conditions. 
  • T cells activation is interrupted in acidic conditions. 
  • mTORC1 switch off prevents cells from producing proteins.
  • Baking soda neutralizes acidity in tumor. 

Cancer is killing many people year after year. It can be surprising to believe but generally, the number of deaths from cancer is decreasing. For more detailed information, read an article by the American Cancer Society here. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean one should be overoptimistic. For example, men have 39.7% chances of being diagnosed with cancer during their life meanwhile women have 37.6%. We might be winning some battles but we haven’t yet won the war. Without trying to be pessimistic, the time of us winning the war against cancer is too far.

Presenting you with the new study.

Now allow me to be more optimistic and hopeful. I have a good reason and it has been able by a study published on 31 May at the online Cell journal. “Acid Suspends the Circadian Clock in Hypoxia through Inhibition of mTOR” is a study led by Chi Van Dang and researchers from the Ludwig Cancer Research. They have been able to discover a method by which cells become acidic because lack of oxygen which leads to an abeyance state of the cells.

What did scientists monitor and discover?

Researchers were able to see that when the environment turns acidic, cells have the tendency to switch off the mTORC1. This molecular switch has the ability to measure the presence of certain nutrients. With the help of RHEB protein, after getting information about the nutrients, mTORC1 allows new cells to grow and separate. Furthermore, the switching off of the mTORC1 also interrupts cells from producing proteins. Not only this but cells are also deprived of their metabolic activity and circadian clocks. The prohibition of cells from all these functions forces them to be in a “sleeping” state.

Fortunately, this process, the switch off of cells and mTORC1, can be reversed, according to the researchers of this study. This is why I decided to share this study with you. It is so important to know this information because is cells are put to a “sleeping” state, chemotherapies cannot kill them. The “sleeping” cells are of course cancer cells. Mr. Dang and his team were able to see in mice that the mTOR activity appeared normal in areas where there was oxygen. Furthermore, researchers were able to see that, when given water with baking soda, mTOR became very active in cancer areas of mice. The good news here is that mTOR functions and cells become more active. This means that these cells, which are cancer cells, become more delicate to the chemotherapy.

How does baking soda help?

First of all, a co-author of the study, Mr. Robert Gillies, had previously monitored that baking soda was able to improve cancer immunotherapy, according to the Ludwig Cancer Research. Nevertheless, the process was not clear, until now. Baking soda does the role of overcoming the acidity in the cancer areas where there is no oxygen. This is the wonderful effect because acidity and lack of oxygen is the main problem in cancer areas. What happens is that acidity makes it possible for proteins to avert lysosomes. The latter, lysosomes, have the role of digesting proteins and making the right environment for the mTOR to run its activity. When proteins avert lysosomes, they also push away mTOR from the nucleus surrounding area. mTOR is separated from the RHEB protein, which stays around the nucleus, and is left “asleep”. Baking soda, by dismantling acidity in tumor’s lack-of-oxygen patches, makes it possible for the lysosomes to stick back to the surroundings of the nucleus. This makes it possible for mTOR to run its activity by joining with RHEB.

Another worth-mentioning discovery is that acidic environment also prevents T cells from activation. The role of T cells is considered fundamental in helping during immunotherapies.