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:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 According to a new ... Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, ... IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 ... (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... LONDON , April 6, 2017 ... Control, RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & ... Energy Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear ... Healthcare, Educational, Other) Are you looking for ... Authentication sector? ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, ... detected a statistically significant association between the ... treatment and objective response of cancer patients ... predict whether cancer patients will respond to ... well as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... today announces publication of a United States multicenter, prospective clinical study that ... disposable, point-of-care diagnostic test capable of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... BioInformatics (https://www.onramp.bio/ ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform ... eliminating all bioinformatics complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but ... do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, ... its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced the ... which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will address ... enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education programs ... to help women who have been diagnosed and are being ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: