Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Preventing metastasis by stopping cancer cells from making fat

23.01.2020

Olivier Feron, a researcher at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research, seeks to understand how metastases form from a tumour. He already demonstrated that the most aggressive cancer cells use significant amounts of lipids as energy sources. Now Prof. Feron has discovered that cancer cells store lipids in small intracellular vesicles called 'lipid droplets'. Cancer cells loaded with lipids are more invasive and therefore more likely to form metastases. Prof. Feron and his team sought to identify the link between lipid storage and metastatisation.

They identified a factor called TGF-beta2 as the switch responsible for both lipid storage and the aggressive nature of cancer cells. Moreover, it appeared that the two processes were mutually reinforcing. In fact, by accumulating lipids, more precisely fatty acids, cancer cells build up energy reserves, which they can then use as needed throughout their metastatic course.


Olivier Feron, a UCLouvain researcher, studies how cancer spreads through the body via metastasis. His major discovery was that cancer cells multiply by using lipids as food. His latest discovery, published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, is that lipid storage promotes cancer invasiveness. A new drug currently being tested to treat obesity may also help fight metastasis.

Credit: copy University of Louvain

Already known was that the acidity found in tumours promotes cancer cells' invasion of healthy tissue. The process requires the detachment of the cancer cell from its original anchor site and the ability to survive under such conditions (which are fatal to healthy cells).

The new finding: UCLouvain researchers demonstrated that this acidity promotes, via the same TGF-beta2 'switch', the invasive potential and formation of lipid droplets.

These provide the invasive cells with the energy they need to move around and withstand the harsh conditions encountered during the metastatisation process. It's like a mountaineer who takes the food and equipment necessary to reach the summit in spite of complex weather conditions.

Concretely, this UCLouvain research opens up new therapeutic avenues thanks to the discovery of the different actors involved in metastasis. These actors can thus be targeted and combated.

Prof. Feron and his team show that it is possible to reduce tumour invasiveness and prevent metastases using specific inhibitors of TGF-beta2 expression but also compounds capable of blocking the transport of fatty acids or the formation of triglycerides.

Among the latter are new drugs that are being evaluated to treat obesity. Their indications could therefore be rapidly extended to counter the development of metastases, which is the major cause of death among cancer patients.

The findings are published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications. The research was carried out with funding from the Belgian Cancer Foundation, the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, the Télévie telethon, and a Wallonia Brussels Federation joint research grant (ARC).

Media Contact

Isabelle Decoster
isabelle.decoster@uclouvain.be
321-047-8870

http://www.uclouvain.be/ 

Isabelle Decoster | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14262-3

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: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

09.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

New method for simulating yarn-cloth patterns to be unveiled at ACM SIGGRAPH

09.07.2020 | Information Technology

Stress testing 'coral in a box'

09.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>