Navigation Links
Scientists Report Key Finding in Breast Cancer Research

Study links cancer growth to sugar-based modification found naturally in the body.

Philadelphia, PA (Vocus) April 16, 2010 -- Researchers at Drexel University College of Medicine have discovered that a certain type of sugar found naturally in the body is elevated in breast cancer cells and is critical for cancer growth and movement. When researchers reduced and normalized the levels of this sugar, they were able to slow the growth of the cancer cells and block invasion. The findings, published in the March 1 issue of Oncogene, represent a potential new therapeutic target for treating aggressive forms of breast cancer.

Scientists have known for years that cancer cells are addicted to sugar. Compared to neighboring normal cells, cancer cells take up nearly ten times more sugar. The cancer cells use the increased sugar levels to fuel rapid cell growth and spread. The Drexel researchers studied a particular sugar-based protein modification known as O-GlcNAc. Alterations in this modification have been linked previously to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, but not to cancer.

“This sugar, O-GlcNAc, is used inside cells to tag proteins and alter their function,” said lead author Mauricio J. Reginato, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Drexel University College of Medicine. “We think this is a very exciting discovery because this may be one way that cancer cells use the increased sugar to regulate key pathways that control growth and invasion.”

Reginato and his colleagues studied established cells from patients with estrogen-independent breast cancer, the most aggressive form of the disease, which does not respond well to current treatments. The researchers found that compared to normal mammary cells, all the breast cancer cells contained elevated levels of O-GlcNAc, as well as increased levels of the enzyme responsible for adding this sugar to protein.

When they reduced the levels of the O-GlcNAc enzyme, or blocked its activity with a drug, they reduced the growth of breast cancer and also blocked the invasion. In addition, by reducing the enzyme levels, they also reduced levels of a protein known as FoxM1, which is known to play a critical role in controlling cancer growth and spread.

The Drexel researchers and collaborators are now working to develop more potent chemicals to target the O-GlcNAc enzyme, a potential new therapeutic target for treating breast cancer and possibly other cancers.

“We looked at cancer databases and found that this enzyme is also elevated in other types of cancers.” said Reginato. “Our next step will be to study those cancers more closely to determine if we can achieve the same effect.”

About Drexel University College of Medicine
Drexel University College of Medicine has established some of the most highly innovative and rigorous academic programs available today, incorporating the University’s expertise in engineering and technology into traditional medical training. The College of Medicine is home to one of the nation’s leading centers for spinal cord research; one of the foremost centers for malaria study; and a highly regarded HIV/AIDS program with extensive NIH-funded research in prevention and therapeutic interventions. Drexel University College of Medicine has been designated a Vanguard National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and is highly respected in numerous other specialties including autism, cardiology, minimally invasive surgery, and toxicology. Visit for more information.

Media Contact:
Rachel Sparrow,


Read the full story at

Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2010 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists ID a protein that splices and dices genes
2. Breakthrough by Danish scientists in preventing maternal malaria
3. NIH scientists identify maternal and fetal genes that increase preterm birth risk
4. UM School of Medicine scientists find new malaria vaccine is safe and protective in children
5. Gladstone scientists identify target that may reduce complications of obesity
6. Scientists map out regulatory regions of genome, hot spots for diabetes genes
7. Doctors and Scientists Create New Society to Promote Non-Animal Toxicology Testing Methods
8. Scientists discover enzyme that cleans cancer cells
9. Scientists Decode Brain Cancer Cell Line
10. Scientists show how molecular switch helps pancreatic cancer beat drugs
11. Brain scientists extend map of fear memory formation
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists Report Key Finding in Breast Cancer Research
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... Beddit® has launched a new Android app for use ... a more intuitive SleepScore™ that rates sleep quality on a 100-point scale and makes ... by a proprietary algorithm. Beddit analyzes the data to provide an easy to understand ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... provide scholarships for people struggling with eating disorders as a result of the ... second annual event, held at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, will help ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Many people know of the common symptoms of low thyroid ... skin. But many people who find their cholesterol levels and weight are creeping up ... especially if they don’t have any of the other symptoms. , Thyroid hormone plays ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Genesis Chiropractic Software helps practice owners automate ... between the practice owner and the patient that automatically manages all five aspects ... Click here to learn more. , According to Dr. Brian ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... of all charitable donations are made in the last five weeks of the year ... #GivingTuesday was created in 2012 to connect the nation’s charities with those individuals who ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... - Global Forecast to 2020" report to their ... for 37.21% of the total market share in 2014. ... region is projected to growth at the highest CAGR ... primarily to the fast growing water, industrial gas treatment, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 25, 2015 WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. ("WuXi" ... open-access R&D capability and technology platform company serving the ... China and the ... extraordinary general meeting of shareholders held today, the Company,s ... and approve the previously announced agreement and plan of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... N.C. , Nov. 24, 2015  In the ... projects in an effort to quickly uncover new insights, ... --> --> However, ... a market research project and ensure that all rules ... and industry standards. Another major barrier to efficiently launching ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: