‘To stop cancer you have to stop lactate’
The crucial role of lactate in cancer cell formation may explain why people who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of developing cancer. In athletes and those who work out, the body is trained to efficiently turn lactate into an energy source for the body, thus stopping it from accumulating in excess.
Based on their findings, the researchers speculate that a sedentary lifestyle, combined with too much sugar in our diets, may lead to an excessive accumulation of lactate, thus setting the stage for cancer.
In the near future, San Millan will collaborate with the University of Colorado Hospital to study the effect of tailored exercise programs on cancer patients. The researcher is already studying breast cancer cell lines.
San Millan hopes that, eventually, his research will help to develop drugs that stop the lactate from accumulating. “We hope to sound the alarm for the research community that to stop cancer you have to stop lactate,” he says. “There are many ways to do that,” such as by targeting monocarboxylate transporters, which ferry lactate from cell to cell.