We've discussed the role of glucose in tumor growth before on TheONC. We've also debated the train of thought that says fasting prior to chemotherapy helps its efficacy. And now, we have more information on cancer cell metabolism.
A recent article in ScienceDaily reports a team led by researchers from the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with researchers from the Structural Genomics Consortium at the University of Toronto and Harvard Medical School, as well as researchers from the National Institutes of Health's new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), has found that by "targeting a key enzyme that governs how cancer cells use glucose and its metabolites," they can "delay the formation of tumors in mice."
According to ScienceDaily, "All cells use an enzyme called pyruvate kinase to derive energy from glucose. Recent studies have shown that cancer cells preferentially use one form of pyruvate kinase, called PKM2, which uses glucose to make additional cancer cells instead of energy. This altered metabolic state appears to be a fundamental aspect of many cancers, and reversing the process represents a new opportunity for cancer treatment."
The study, published in the advance online publication of Nature Chemical Biology, reports that "the researchers describe the identification of molecular compounds that activate PKM2, correct the way human cancer cells use glucose, and delay tumor development and decrease tumor size in mice."
"All cancers have PKM2, and learning about the basics of cancer cell metabolism and proliferation is essential to targeting human tumors," MIT researcher Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD, senior author of the paper and a medical oncologist whose lab studies cancer metabolism, told ScienceDaily. "I am cautiously optimistic that as we learn more about cancer cell metabolism, we may be able to identify drugs that act on PKM2 or other metabolic enzymes that could be tested against human cancers."
You can read the full report here: "Pyruvate kinase M2 activators promote tetramer formation and suppress tumorigenesis."
What do you think? Will managing cancer metabolism be the next big thing in targeted therapies?