29
Jun

Scientists Develop Cancer Drug That Starves Tumor Cells

The drug stops cancer cells’ ability to metabolize glucose, causing them to die.

A new drug was shown in lab tests to successfully shut down the metabolism of cancer cells, causing them to die, while remaining non-toxic to healthy cells around them.

The drug, called SR9243, blocks The Warburg effect, a method that cancer cells use to rapidly find glucose and turn it into energy, which is used to mutate and multiply.

“Cancer cells look for metabolic pathways to find the parts to grow and divide. If they don’t have the parts, they just die,” said Thomas Burris, Ph.D., chair of pharmacology and physiology at Saint Louis University, in a press release. “The Warburg effect ramps up energy use in the form of glucose to make chemicals required for rapid growth and cancer cells also ramp up another process, lipogenesis, that lets them make their own fats that they need to rapidly grow.”

The effect, scientists say, is the metabolic foundation for cancer gene growth, tumor progression and tumor resistance to treatment. Normal cells also do not experience the Warburg effect, and because normal cells can draw energy from fat, SR9243 has no effect on healthy cells near cancerous ones. SR9243 worked in cultured cancer cells and in human tumor cells grown in animal models, researchers said.

“It works in a wide range of cancers both in culture and in human tumors developing in animal models,” Burris said. “Some are more sensitive to it than others. In several of these pathways, cells had been reprogramed by cancer to support cancer cell growth. This returns the metabolism to that of more normal cells.”

The study is published in Cancer Cell.

 

By Stephen Feller

Original article:  http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/06/26/Scientists-develop-cancer-drug-that-starves-tumor-cells/2021435348990/

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