In the fight against cancer, one of the most important things scientists can understand is how the disease moves so they can stop it in its tracks before it spreads.
Now a new study has uncovered one of the most important elements of fighting cancer - how to cut off the supply of food that allows the cells to grow at such a rapid rate and develop new tumours.
A team of researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Centre found they were able to switch off a specific gene in human DNA that starves cancer cells of glucose, and avoid damaging normal cells in the process.
Cancer cells consume exorbitant amounts of glucose when they are taking hold, in fact they require so much of this sugar, that doctors use glucose isotopes to pinpoint the exact location of a tumor and its metastases within the human body.
Where there are abnormally high levels of glucose being used, chances are there is a cancerous growth.
As a result, inhibiting glucose uptake has long been suggested as a logical therapeutic strategy, but the ability to do this has been missing.