Warburg effect induces dramatic increase of glucose uptake by cancer cells. Therefore, glucose-antimetabolites, such as 2-deoxy-glucose (2DG) represent a promising approach for targeting glucose dependence of cancer cells. Despite the proven potential of 2DG to induce energy starvation and cancer cell death, this compound has not reached the clinical application due to side effects observed in patients upon application of effective doses of 2DG.
We aim to increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to low doses of 2DG by combining it with other synergistically working compounds. Our research has shown that compounds from certain plant extracts have the potential to inhibit glucose uptake. Combination of these substances with 2DG leads to enhanced energy depletion and cancer cell death. Currently we are analyzing the mechanisms of action and preparing the pre-clinical evaluation of the drug combination.