This method of starving cancer cells could provide new options for patients, particularly those resistant to standard therapies such as tamoxifen, Georgia Health Sciences University researchers said.
Human estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells thriving in a Petri dish or transplanted onto mice die when exposed to a drug that blocks the transporter, called SLC6A14, said Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, Chairman of GHSU's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
"It basically starves the cancer cell," said Ganapathy, corresponding author of the study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The transporter can carry 18 of the known 20 amino acids, fuel all cells need in some combination. Amino acids enable cells to make proteins, which they need to function and survive. The cell type determines its amino acid needs and delivery system. Rapidly growing, dividing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer needs nearly every amino acid so it makes the smart choice of utilizing the transporter that can deliver the biggest load, Ganapathy said.
SLC6A14 is the only transporter known to carry all 10 essential amino acids, essential because the body can't make them so they have to be delivered via the bloodstream from food. The transporter also takes eight of the nonessential amino acids along for the ride, Ganapathy said.
And it is a fast ride. The transporter has three energy sources instead of the usual one or two, he said.
Interestingly, SLC6A14 is expressed at low levels in most of the body. "There are specialized features of this transport system which could be used by every cell to its advantage but they do not seem to do that. It's expressed only at low levels in normal tissues," Ganapathy noted. While that may seem like a loss for healthy cells, it bolsters the cancer-fighting potential for drugs that block SLC6A14 by making it a more specific cancer target. "Since the normal cells do not depend on this transporter, you can use a drug that selectively blocks it to target cancer cells" Ganapathy said.
The compound they used is alpha-methyl-DL-tryptophan, already used in humans for short periods when they are getting a PET scan in certain areas of the brain. When the researchers treated estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells with it or put it in the drinking water of the mice with the cells, rapid growth stopped and the cancer cells died. Further studies showed alpha-methyl-DL-tryptophan seemed to impact only cells expressing the SLC6A14 transport system. Even another type of breast cancer, estrogen receptor-negative, wasn't impacted.
Researchers are now determining the most potent version of the compound.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
21.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
21.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
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...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
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...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology