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Anti-Glycolytic Therapy Proved to be Effective Against Tumors

By targeting on the energy producing cellular glycolytic pathway and knocking down the pathway enzyme-LDHA, a team of researchers //at the Harvard Medical School (HMS) have made the fast-growing breast cancer cells under control.

In an animal study using mice, scientists have noticed that control ones carrying tumor cells with an intact glycolytic pathway did not survived beyond 10 weeks but in contrast about 8 per cent LDHA-deficient mice outlived the four-month experiment period.

‘This is an exciting contribution that reveals a surprising Achilles heel in cancer cells. It also adds to our sense of opportunity for new avenues of cancer therapeutics,’ said Stuart Schrieber, Morris Loeb professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

As a tumor grows, cells crowd one another and may be cut off from oxygen-carrying blood vessels--a distinct disadvantage since most cells require oxygen to produce the bulk of their energy-storing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In the 1920s, Otto Warburg proposed that some cancer cells evolved the ability to switch over to an ancient, oxygen-free route, the glycolytic pathway. What is more, they continue to use this pathway even when access to oxygen is restored. Though the so-called Warburg effect has since been confirmed, the role played by glycolysis in cancer has been largely ignored. Few have attempted to attack specific points along the glycolytic pathway to gain a therapeutic effect.

‘LDHA could be one weak point that we could attack but maybe, if we understand exactly all the steps involved, we could devise alternative strategies to attack the same pathway,’ said Fantin, who was an HMS research fellow in genetics when the study was performed. She is currently a research scientist at Merck & Co.

What may excite the growing band of researchers who are studying the Warburg effect, and cancer metabolism more generally, is the way the study
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