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Discovery of protein that alters nutrition of breast cancer cells
Date:4/5/2011

This release is available in Spanish.

Research published in the Cancer Cell journal in March was a significant step in knowing the causes of cancer better, especially breast cancer, revealing that the lack or loss of a protein in the cells known as SIRT3, induces the proliferation of this disease and thereby, this protein can be an may be a therapeutic target in the development of effective therapies for cancer. The research was led by Dra. Marcia Haigis of the Harvard Medical School, with the participation of Dr. Arkaitz Carracedo, from the Proteomics Laboratory at CIC bioGUNE.

One of the grand aims of the scientific community is to identify the characteristics that differentiate normal cells from cancerous ones in order to subsequently develop therapies that wipe out the aberrant cells without affecting the normal ones. One 100 years ago, a researcher named Otto Warburg observed that cancerous cells feed in a singular manner: instead of using nutrients to produce energy, it seems they waste part of the food through a less efficient metabolism. Warburg maintained the hypothesis that cancer cells have an "aberrant", i.e. different metabolism; which he attributed to a technical defect in these cells. They did not use food to generate energy (ATP) but to generate biomass and build more cells, divide, proliferate, etc.

"In recent years, we have come to understand this phenomenon better. Paradoxically, the cancer cells obtain sufficient energy from nutrients - equivalent to the electricity for supplying all the appliances in our house while what is limiting for them is material to build more cells or what we can imagine as the bricks to build more houses, explained Dr. Carracedo. To this end, they modify their metabolism in order to create more of these building blocks (cell membrane, ADN, proteins, and so on). This change in the meta
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Contact: Oihane Lakar
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Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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