Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Copper may play role in ’starving’ cancer to standstill

12.02.2004


Starving a cancerous tumor of its blood supply might stop its growth while other treatments aim to kill it.



"Nutrient depletion" is how Dr. Ed Harris, Texas A&M University biochemist, describes the process in the February issue of Nutrition Reviews. His article traces how independent studies around the world led researchers to consider copper, a trace mineral in the human diet, for its potential in controlling cancerous growth.

"The idea is to deprive a selective nutrient from being active in tumors. In research so far, there is no indication of anyone being cured, but tumors have stopped growing," said Harris, who is an expert on the relation of copper in various human diseases. "Ultimately, nutrient depletion may be used in combination with other treatments."


The role of copper to control cancer traces its beginnings to Dr. Judah Folkman of the Harvard School of Medicine, whose pioneering work in angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood cells, began about 40 years ago but only since the 1980s have been recognized in medical research. Folkman first launched the idea that if a tumor is to grow, it must have its own blood supply, Harris said.

"For one increment of tumor growth, Folkman said, there also must be one increment of capillary or vessel growth," Harris noted. "And that was shocking."

But that astonishing notion led some researchers to explore ways to stop the capillary growth that nourished tumors. About the same time, other researchers were examining the role of copper in forming blood vessels.

To test a theory of whether copper was instrumental in blood vessel formation, scientists needed an organ that had none. They found that in the cornea of rabbit’s eyes. Small pellets of copper were implanted into rabbit corneas, and soon vessels formed around them, the biochemist noted.

Then came the idea that if copper was needed to create blood vessels, and if blood vessels were necessary for tumor growth, what would happen if copper were regulated?

"Studies looked at inoperable cancer -- cancer that couldn’t be touched as in deep in the brain," Harris said. "There was some impact, but there also was fear that perhaps such treatment would stop the cancer but cause a serious copper-deficient disease."

Yet another study, by George Brewer in Michigan, looked at the use of tetrathiomolybdate, which is normally given to people with a copper overload, Harris said.

Brewer got permission to try the anti-copper drug on terminal cancer patients for six months in an attempt to lower their copper levels and thus stop the blood-vessel growth that was feeding the tumors.

"Five of the six people who received the drug showed no further growth in their tumors after one year," Harris noted. "And it was found that cancers of the muscle don’t respond to this treatment. But even that is encouraging because it narrows down and gives researchers a place to look to see what is different about cancers of the muscle and blood vessel supplies."

Harris said every drug ever made has been tested against cancer, but nutritional intervention may lead to a different approach in combination with other medical treatments.

Kathleen Phillips | Texas A&M University
Further information:
http://agnews.tamu.edu/dailynews/stories/BICH/Feb1104a.htm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>