Navigation Links
Cancer scientists discover new way breast cancer cells adapt to environmental stress
Date:5/14/2011

(Toronto May 15, 2011) An international research team led by Dr. Tak Mak, Director, The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), has discovered a new aspect of "metabolic transformation", the process whereby tumour cells adapt and survive under conditions that would kill normal cells.

The findings, published today in Genes and Development (http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/gad.1987211), show how breast cancer cells can thrive when deprived of their usual diet of glucose (sugar) and oxygen by turning to fatty acids for energy generation.

"Our results demonstrate that a protein not previously associated with breast cancer is involved in helping these cells to adapt to starvation conditions and to continue their uncontrolled growth," says Dr. Mak, principal investigator and Weekend to End Breast Cancer Chair in Breast Cancer Research at PMH. Dr. Mak is also a Professor at the University of Toronto in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology.

In the lab, researchers used an anticancer drug called rapamycin to block a molecular signalling pathway within breast cancer cells that stimulates sugar metabolism. However, instead of dying of starvation, the cells continued to multiply. The team also observed an increase in these cells of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1C (CPT1C), a protein usually found only in the brains of healthy individuals. Moreover, cells engineered to produce high levels of CPT1C were also able to adapt their metabolism as a survival technique.

"In other words," says Dr. Mak, "The cancer cells acted like cheaters on a diet and found a new food source in fatty acids.

"The fact that CPT1C becomes expressed under conditions of metabolic stress highlights the resilience of cancer cells. They are able to adapt to environmental challenges and find alternative sources of food in order to flourish where healthy cells would not survive."

"Our discovery that deprivation of either sugar or oxygen spurs CPT1C expression in tumour cells marks this protein as a potential target for new drug development," says Dr. Mak.

"We also demonstrated that cells that were prevented from using CPT1C to cope with a disruption in sugar metabolism became more sensitive to environmental stress. These findings represent an important stepping stone to developing targeted therapies that can block cancer cells from adapting to environmental challenges and surviving efforts to kill them."

This most recent discovery builds on Dr. Mak's impressive body of work, which has led to important breakthroughs in immunology and our understanding of cancer at the molecular level. Dr. Mak is internationally renowned for his 1984 landmark scientific paper on the cloning of the genes for the T cell receptor, a key component of the human immune system.


'/>"/>

Contact: Geoff Koehler
geoff.koehler@uhn.on.ca
416-340-4800
University Health Network
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. AAPS national biotechnology conference to highlight breakthrough cancer treatments
2. UT Southwestern researchers find protein that might be key to cutting cancer cells blood supply
3. Yale researchers explain why cancer smart drugs may not be so smart
4. Microbubble-delivered combination therapy eradicates prostate cancer in vivo
5. Parsley, celery carry crucial component for fight against breast cancer, MU researcher finds
6. Medusa-structure of gene regulatory network: Dominance of transcription factors in cancer subtypes
7. UT Southwestern research reveals how cancer-driving enzyme works
8. Einstein researchers find key gene in childhood cancer
9. Racial disparities still exist in colorectal cancer screening despite increased Medicare coverage
10. Hitting target in cancer fight now easier with new nanoparticle platform, UCLA scientists say
11. High percentage of omega-3s in the blood may boost risk of aggressive prostate cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/15/2016)... Nov 15, 2016 Research and Markets has ... to 2021" report to their offering. ... ... Billion by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in 2016, growing at ... Growth of the bioinformatics market is driven by the growing demand ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was once again ... of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest 50 Awards ... Las Vegas . Winners are ... of the following categories: net square feet of paid exhibit ... 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out of 50 ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that after ... secured the final acceptance by all three (3) ... Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have contracts ... by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate wireless ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Cambrian ... for industrial facilities, today announced that one of the nation’s fastest growing craft ... novel water-energy purchase agreement (WEPA). Under the WEPA, a first for the industrial ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... genomics leader uBiome is opening applications to an early access program for ... power of metagenomic deep-sequencing with the simultaneous specific enrichment and detection of ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... TORONTO , Dec. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" ... operational results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September ... , , ... Toronto -based life sciences and diagnostics company that develops and ... Commercial Highlights Achieved revenues of $1.4 million ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that ... what’s happening in our brains. And searching for keys to our immune systems by ... honored with the 2017 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: