Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Blocking key enzyme in cancer cells could lead to new therapy

02.08.2013
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have identified a characteristic unique to cancer cells in an animal model of cancer — and they believe it could be exploited as a target to develop new treatment strategies.

An enzyme that metabolizes the glucose needed for tumor growth is found in high concentrations in cancer cells, but in very few normal adult tissues. Deleting the gene for the enzyme stopped the growth of cancer in laboratory mice, with no associated adverse effects, reports Nissim Hay, UIC professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, and his colleagues in the August 12 issue of Cancer Cell.

Targeting glucose metabolism for cancer therapy — while avoiding adverse effects in other parts of the body — has been a “questionable” strategy, Hay said. But he and his coworkers showed that the glucose-metabolism enzyme hexokinase-2 can be almost completely eliminated in adult mice without affecting normal metabolic functions or lifespan.

Hexokinase-2 is abundant in embryos but absent in most adult cells, where related enzymes take over its role in metabolism. One of the changes that mark a cell as cancerous is expression of the embryonic enzyme. Hay and his colleagues showed that the embryonic version is required for cancer cells to proliferate and grow, and that eliminating it halts tumor growth.

They developed a mouse strain in which they could silence or delete the HK2 gene in the adult animal, and they found that these mice could not develop or sustain lung or breast cancer tumors but were otherwise normal and healthy.

“We have deleted the HK2 gene systemically in these mice, and they have been living for more than two years now. Their lifespan is the same as normal mice,” Hay said.

The researchers also looked at human lung and breast cancer cells in the lab, and found that if they eliminated all HK2, the cells stopped growing.

“We think that the process we used to delete the HK2 gene is not absolutely perfect, so there must be some low levels of HK2 in the mice. But that seems to be enough for the cells that use HK2, and the therapeutic effects on tumors in these mice are stable.”

Hay thinks the enzyme is involved in making the building-blocks for the DNA of cancer cells, which need lots of all cellular components as they rapidly divide.

“Without HK2, the cancer cells don’t make enough DNA for new cells, and so tumor growth comes to a standstill,” said Hay.

Krushna C. Patra, Qi Wang, Prashanth Bhaskar, Luke Miller, Zebin Wang from UIC; Will Wheaton, Navdeep Chandel from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Markku Laasko from the University of Eastern Finland, William Muller from McGill University in Montreal; Eric Allen, Abhishek Jha, Gromoslaw Smolen, Michelle Clasquin from Agios Pharmaceuticals; and Brooks Robey from Dartmouth Medical School also contributed to this research.

The research was supported by VA Merit Award BX000733, by NIH grants AG016927 and CA090764, and in part by the UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Award Number ULRR029879, and grant from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium with support from The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust to Hay. Patra was supported by Defense Department predoctoral fellowship W81XWH-11-1-0006.

Sharon Parmet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>