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Study reveals new metabolic safeguards against tumor cells
Date:8/19/2009

engineered the homeless cells to express high levels of a gene, HER2, known to be hyperactive in many breast tumors. He also treated the cells with antioxidants in an attempt to relieve oxidative stress and help the cells survive.

Both strategies worked. The cells with the breast cancer gene regained glucose transport, preventing ROS accumulation, and recovered their ATP levels. The antioxidant-treated cells also survived, but by using fatty acids instead of glucose as an energy source.

"Our results raise the possibility that antioxidant activity might allow early-stage tumor cells to survive where they otherwise would die from these metabolic defects," says Schafer.

The researchers are currently planning to test the effects of antioxidant genes, some of which are abnormally regulated in human tumors, and a wider range of antioxidants in animal models. They also plan on characterizing the metabolic consequences of matrix detachment in more detail.

"Ultimately," Brugge says, "we want to understand enough about the metabolism of tumor cells so that new types of drugs can be designed to target them."


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Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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