Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Could anti-parasitic drugs be effective against cancer?

22.05.2009
Japanese researchers have shown that the metabolism used by cancer cells to create the energy necessary for proliferation could be the same or similar to the specific type of metabolism used by parasites such as roundworms in low-oxygen environments. These are the first such findings ever made worldwide.

Metabolomic analysis suggests that cancer uses the same type of metabolism as roundworms. Results of joint research project (Project of Early Clinical Development for Anti-Cancer Medicine and Devices) conducted by the Super Special Consortia between the Institute for Advanced Biosciences at Keio University and the National Cancer Center Hospital East.

A group of researchers including Akiyoshi Hirayama and Professor Tomiyoshi Soga of the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB), Keio University (located in the City of Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, Director General: Masaru Tomita) and Hiroyasu Esumi, Director of the National Cancer Center Hospital East (located in the City of Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture) have used metabolomic (*1) analysis to show that the metabolism (*2) used by cancer cells to create the energy necessary for proliferation could be the same or similar to the specific type of metabolism used by parasites such as roundworms in low-oxygen environments. These are the first such findings ever made worldwide, and are the results of a joint research project entitled “Project of Early Clinical Development for Anti-Cancer Medicine and Devices” conducted between IAB Keio University and the National Cancer Center Hospital East, which was selected by the national government as a Super Special Consortia for FY2008 for supporting the development of cutting-edge medical care.

These findings were published in the 19 May, 2009 online edition of Cancer Research (American Association for Cancer Research). http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/0008-5472.CAN-08-4806v1

1. Background information

In oxygen-rich environments, the vast majority of living organisms use the citric acid cycle (*3), a central part of metabolism, to produce ATP (*4), a source of energy. Parasitic roundworms inhale oxygen and use the same citric acid cycle as humans to produce energy in environments where oxygen is freely available, such as when they are growing as larvae or outside hosts. However, once they enter the small intestine where oxygen is not freely available, they use a special type of metabolism to produce energy. A certain type of anti-parasitic drugs selectively inhibits this special type of metabolism used by the parasite, which kills the parasite without causing any adverse reaction in the human host. A group of researchers led by Hiroyasu Esumi, the Director of the National Cancer Center Hospital East, discovered in 2004 that anti-parasitic drugs can kill malignant cancer cells. Based on these results and the fact that cancer cells can actively proliferate in environments with limited oxygen and no blood vessels, it was hypothesized in 2004 that cancer cells produce energy using a type of metabolism that is similar to that employed by roundworms.

2. Research findings

The research team took cancer tissue and normal tissue from colon cancer and stomach cancer patients. A comprehensive metabolome profiling of each tissue was performed by capillary electrophoresis mass time-of-flight mass spectrometry at IAB Keio University, and the metabolites of the cancer and normal tissues were compared. It was found that a high concentration of succinic acid had accumulated in cancer tissue, a phenomenon that is also observed with roundworms in oxygen-deficient environments. This accumulation of succinic acid in roundworms was only observed with the special type of metabolism (i.e. the type carried out in oxygen-deficient environments), which is strong evidence that cancer cells use the same type of metabolism. It was also revealed that a greater quantity of succinic acid had accumulated in cancers of the colon and rectum, where oxygen concentration is low, than in cancers of the stomach, where oxygen concentration is higher.

Since anti-parasitic drugs can kill cancer cells, and cancer tissue and roundworms use similar metabolic patterns for producing energy, the research project showed that the type of metabolism used by cancer cells to create the energy necessary for proliferation could be the same or similar to the special type of metabolism used by parasites such as roundworms in low-oxygen environments.

Some of the research findings were published in the 19 May, 2009 online edition of Cancer Research (American Association for Cancer Research).

The team will forge ahead with the project, aiming to identify the specific type of metabolism used by cancer cells and thereby develop a drug that selectively inhibits the key enzyme (*5) in the metabolic system. The final goal is to develop an effective anti-cancer drug with a low incidence of adverse events, since it does not act on normal tissue.

3. Researcher’s comments

Hiroyasu Esumi, Director of National Cancer Center Hospital East said, “The metabolomic technologies developed by IAB Keio University are among the best in the world. Thanks to these

technologies, we have made an unexpected discovery about the properties of cancer and found a clue for developing a revolutionary anti-cancer drug.”

Professor Tomiyoshi Soga at IAB said, “We have used the metabolomic analysis technologies developed thanks to the support of Yamagata Prefecture and the City of Tsuruoka to discover a type of metabolism selectively used by cancer cells. I am delighted that this is the first step in the quest to develop a new type of anti-cancer drug.”

Explanation of technical terms

*1. Metabolome
Collective name for the many thousands of types of metabolites (intermediates and products of metabolism) in cells, including amino acids, sugars, and lipids.
*2. Metabolism
Chemical (enzyme) reactions in the body. Substances taken in from outside the body are converted into other substances to create energy necessary for cells and life, as well as biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids.
*3. Citric acid cycle
Metabolic pathway for producing ATP, a source of energy, in organisms that use aerobic respiration. Other substances such as amino acids are produced in the citric acid cycle.
*4. ATP
Abbreviation of adenosine triphosphate. Energy source for all organisms.
*5. Enzymes
Proteins that increase the rate of metabolic reactions (converting substances into different substances).

Center for Research Promotion | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.keio.ac.jp/english/press_release/090520e.pdf
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>