ANU researchers have found a vital supply route that cancer cells use to obtain their nutrients, in a discovery that could lead to new treatments to stop the growth of tumours.
The research team blocked gateways through which the cancer cell was obtaining the amino acid glutamine and found the cells almost completely stopped growing.
“This is likely to work in a wide range of cancers, because it is a very common mechanism in cancer cells,” said lead researcher Professor Stefan Bröer, from ANU Research School of Biology.
“Better still, this should lead to chemotherapy with much less serious side-effects, as normal cells do not use glutamine as a building material.
“Crucial white blood cells, which current treatments damage, could be spared, and it could cut out the hair loss that chemotherapy causes.”
There are 917 different types of cancer currently identified, and many cures work only for a single type of the disease or become ineffective as cancers develop resistance to chemotherapy.
However Professor Bröer said the new approach would be less prone to resistance because blocking the glutamine transport mechanism is an external process that would be hard for cancer cells to get around.
The team first attempted a glutamine blockade by genetically altering cancer cells to disable their main glutamine transporter. However, it was not very effective, Professor Bröer said.
“It was not quite as simple as we thought. The cells set off a biochemical alarm which opened a back door in the cell so they could still get the glutamine they needed,” he said.
Once the team had disabled the second gateway by turning off the biochemical alarm with a technique known as RNA silencing, the cells’ growth reduced by 96 per cent.
The results are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Lead author Angelika Bröer, also from ANU Research School of Biology, spearheaded the effort to identify and genetically knock out glutamine transporters.
“It is an exciting time to do cancer research. We now have precision tools in our hands to manipulate the genome of cancer cells, allowing us to address problems that were difficult to solve previously,” she said.
Now the importance of glutamine gateways have been identified in cancer, the hunt is on to find drug treatments that will lock them down and kill the disease.
“We have developed a set of tests which make it very easy to determine if a drug is targeting glutamine transporters,” Ms Bröer said.
“This means we can set robots to work that will test tens of thousands of drugs for us over the next year or two.”
Learn more: Starving cancer the key to new treatments
The Latest on: Starving cancer cells
via Google News
The Latest on: Starving cancer cells
- Moleculin advances plan to strip and starve COVID-19on March 20, 2020 at 6:45 am
The plan is underpinned by evidence the drug may starve infected cells of energy while also exposing the COVID-19 virus to immune attacks. Houston-based Moleculin originally identified WP1122 as a ...
- Is ketogenic diet good for you?on March 16, 2020 at 10:12 pm
For cancer patients, the ketogenic diet can slow tumor growth by starving the cancer cells. And for women who are experiencing polycystic ovary syndrome, the ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin ...
- Statin drugs can starve cancer cells to deathon March 15, 2020 at 3:22 am
Suspecting that the non-moving cancer cells were literally “starving to death,” the scientists then measured the statin-treated cells’ intake by adding a fluorescent tag to proteins in the cells’ ...
- Statin may stop cancer progression by starving cancer cells to deathon March 14, 2020 at 4:51 am
c)Researchers state the non-moving cells cancer cells as 'starving to death'. d)The scientists then measured the statin-treated cells intake by adding a fluorescent tag to proteins in the cell's ...
- Statin Drugs may Kill Cancer Cells to Deathon March 12, 2020 at 11:52 pm
Statin drugs that are commonly taken to help manage cholesterol levels may also kill some cancer cells by starving them of nutrients, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published ...
- Cell studies suggest statins starve cancer of nutrientson March 12, 2020 at 7:40 pm
But now, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have found that they may also kill some cancer cells by starving them of nutrients, and uncovered the mechanism for how that can happen. In experiments ...
- Statins kill cancer cells by starving them to deathon March 12, 2020 at 10:07 am
Suspecting that the nonmoving cancer cells were literally “starving to death,” Devreotes says, the scientists then measured the statin-treated cells’ intake by adding a fluorescent tag to proteins in ...
- Statins starve cancer cells to deathon March 12, 2020 at 8:35 am
Suspecting that the non-moving cancer cells were literally "starving to death," Devreotes says, the scientists then measured the statin-treated cells' intake by adding a fluorescent tag to ...
- Statins starve cancer cells to deathon March 12, 2020 at 7:09 am
Suspecting that the non-moving cancer cells were literally "starving to death," Devreotes says, the scientists then measured the statin-treated cells' intake by adding a fluorescent tag to proteins in ...
via Bing News