Navigation Links
Cancers' sweet tooth may be weakness
Date:11/18/2009

The pedal-to-the-metal signals driving the growth of several types of cancer cells lead to a common switch governing the use of glucose, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

Scientists who study cancer have known for decades that cancer cells tend to consume more glucose, or blood sugar, than healthy cells. This tendency is known as the "Warburg effect," honoring discoverer Otto Warburg, a German biochemist who won the 1931 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Now a Winship-led team has identified a way to possibly exploit cancer cells' taste for glucose.

The results were published this week in the journal Science Signaling.

Normally cells have two modes of burning glucose, comparable to sprinting and long-distance running: glycolysis, which doesn't require oxygen and doesn't consume all of the glucose molecule, and oxidative phosphorylation, which requires oxygen and is more thorough.

Cancer cells often outgrow their blood supply, leading to a lack of oxygen in a tumor, says Jing Chen, PhD, assistant professor of hematology and medical oncology at Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute. They also benefit from glycolysis because leftovers from the inefficient consumption of glucose can be used as building blocks for growing cells.

"Even if they have oxygen, cancer cells still prefer glycolysis," Chen says. "They depend on it to grow quickly."

Working with Chen, postdoctoral researcher Taro Hitosugi focused on the enzyme PKM2 (pyruvate kinase M2), which governs the use of glucose and controls whether cells make the switch between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. PKM2 is found predominantly in fetal cells and in tumor cells.

In many types of cancer, mutations lead to over-activation of proteins called tyrosine kinases. Chen's team showed that tyrosine kinases turn off PKM2 in lung, breast, prostate and blood cancers. Introducing a form of PKM2 that is not sensitive to tyrosine kinases into cancer cells forces them to grow slower and be more dependent on oxygen, they found.

Because the active form of PKM2 consists of four protein molecules stuck together, having a tyrosine kinase flip the "off" switch on one molecule can dampen the activity for the others.

"People knew that tyrosine kinases might modify PKM2 for decades but they didn't think it mattered," Chen says. "We showed that such a modification is important and you even don't need that much modification of PKM2 to make a difference in the cells' metabolism."

PKM2 could be a good drug target, because both inhibiting it or activating it can slow down cancer cell growth. Biotechnology companies are already searching for ways to do so, Chen says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Vince Dollard
vdollar@emory.edu
404-778-4580
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Loss of tumor supressor gene essential to transforming benign nerve tumors into cancers
2. New blood tests promise simple, cost-effective diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers
3. Fox Chase researchers uncover one force behind the MYC oncogene in many cancers
4. Possible drug target found for one of the most aggressive breast cancers
5. Newly discovered epidermal growth factor receptor active in human pancreatic cancers
6. NC State researchers find soy may aid in treating canine cancers
7. Ireland Cancer Center researcher finds most triple-negative breast cancers express muc-1 target
8. Oral rinses used for tracking HPV-positive head and neck cancers holds promise for cancer screening
9. On the trail of a targeted therapy for blood cancers
10. H. Pylori bacteria may help prevent some esophageal cancers
11. Researchers identify cancer-causing gene in many colon cancers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/30/2019)... ... December 30, 2019 , ... It’s been quite a ... seen its highest sales in 2019, having hosted a multitude of team-building events and ... visited the company’s La Jolla-based venue, and the company has worked hard to accommodate ...
(Date:12/18/2019)... ... December 17, 2019 , ... PM360, a ... and diagnostics industries, has named Pharmafusion LLC as one of the most innovative ... company and its founder/CEO Jonathan Retano. Earlier in the year, Pharmafusion was featured ...
(Date:12/4/2019)... ... December 03, 2019 , ... Genedata, ... Agenus , a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing therapies to fight cancer, has ... platform. Agenus will use the platform to support immunotherapy and vaccine pipeline programs ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/18/2019)... ... ... Tune in to CNBC on Saturday, December 28th at 11:00aET to watch a ... on this program. , With a look at Avatar Partners , Advancements will ... the efficiency, safety and effectiveness of equipment, systems, and processes for the Warfighter, First ...
(Date:12/6/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... December 06, ... ... manufacturer Vascular Medcure, Inc. has received FDA 510(k) clearance for its latest ... company’s early clinical data suggests the CAPERE® offers great benefits for first-in-line ...
(Date:12/4/2019)... ... 03, 2019 , ... Absolute Antibody Ltd. , an ... the Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN), a consortium of three expert centers at the ... common goal to generate recombinant antibodies at a proteome-wide scale. Under the new ...
(Date:12/4/2019)... ... , ... A new study released today in STEM CELLS outlines how fat ... tissue) buildup – also improves the range of motion of the affected limb. The ... , The tumor-destroying capabilities of radiation therapy can be a life saver for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: