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 commentsHiroyasu 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
Center for Research Promotion | Research asia research news
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences